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CNBC Sports Biz: Are concussions hurting the NHL?


This post is part of a series looking at the issue and impact of concussions in the NHL. ProHockeyTalk and Comcast SportsNet are featuring pieces today as a lead-in to tonight’s special edition of NHL Live on Versus (6:30 p.m. EST.)

We’ve spotlighted this CNBC Sports Business report with Darren Rovell previously on PHT, but it bears re-mentioning in light of recent events.

Rovell was asked the question: Are concussions hurting the NHL?

Here’s what he had to say.

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Following up on Rovell’s second point (when superstars miss games, the league’s wallet is effected) consider the stars currently shelved with concussions/head injuries:

Sidney Crosby: Hart, Art Ross and Rocket Richard Trophy winner. Stanley Cup champion.

Chris Pronger: Norris and Hart Trophy winner. Stanley Cup Champion.

Marc Savard: Former NHL All-Star. Stanley Cup Champion.

Claude Giroux: At the time of injury, led the NHL in points.

Milan Michalek: At the time of injury, led the NHL in goals.

Jeff Skinner: Reigning Calder Trophy winner.

Mike Richards: Former NHL All-Star.

Kris Letang: Former NHL All-Star.

For more on the current status of concussions throughout the NHL, check out USA Today’s concussion tracker.

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.