Canadiens’ Phillip Danault has concussion symptoms after being hit by slap shot

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The Montreal Canadiens offered an update on injured forward Phillip Danault on Monday afternoon, announcing that he is currently dealing with concussion-like symptoms and that he will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.

Danault was injured over the weekend when he was hit in the head by a Zdeno Chara slap shot.

It was an especially scary moment as Danault remained on the ice for several minutes and had to be carried off on a stretcher. He was taken to a local hospital for observation before being released.

[Canadiens’ Danault takes slap shot to head]

In 43 games this season Danault has scored seven goals and added 16 assists for the Canadiens.

Along with Danault the Canadiens are also dealing with an injury to veteran forward Andrew Shaw who the team announced will be sidelined with a lower body injury and that his status will be evaluated again in 10 days.

With Danault and Shaw sidelined the Canadiens claimed forward Logan Shaw off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Auston Matthews admits experiencing concussion symptoms; could return vs. Rangers

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We now know what the “upper-body injury” was that’s caused Auston Matthews of the the Toronto Maple Leafs to miss the last six games.

After returning to full practice on his teammates Friday morning, Matthews said he was experiencing “normal concussion symptoms” after a collision with Morgan Rielly during a Dec. 9 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It wasn’t until later that night into the next morning that the Maple Leafs star began feeling off and eventually went through the standard protocol.

Matthews skated on his own last week and will travel with the team to New York City ahead of their Saturday night game against the Rangers. He’s currently listed as a game-time decision.

“I think it’s just talking with the training staff. No decision is going to be made until tomorrow but I’m definitely feeling a lot better,” he said. “I feel good out there on the ice. Obviously, just trying to get my legs back and everything.”

The Leafs have missed Matthews, who has 13 goals and 26 points in 26 games played this season, as they’ve dropped three of four games in his absence.

If Matthews doesn’t go Saturday night, he’ll get a few extra days to get 100-percent before a homecoming when the Leafs head west to face the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 28, their first game after the Christmas break.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Mika Zibanejad’s concussion a tough pill to swallow for the Rangers

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It’s a not a deathblow, but the loss of Mika Zibanejad certainly packs a devastating punch to the New York Rangers lineup that has a tough divisional schedule on the horizon.

The Rangers announced Thursday that Zibanejad is out indefinitely with a concussion after a hit he sustained from Darren Helm last Friday against the Detroit Red Wings.

It’s a tough pill to swallow in the Big Apple, for a couple reasons.

Zibanejad is the team’s top goal scorer with 11 and point producer with 22. He’s also the team’s top-line center on a line with Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich that has combined for 58 points this season.

And there might not be a worse time for Zibanejad to be out of the lineup. The Rangers, who have won 10 of their past 13 games and sit four points adrift of third place in the Metropolitan Division, play half of their next 12 games against divisional opponents.

David Desharnais filled in for Zibanejad on Tuesday in a 5-4 loss to the Florida Panthers. He collected three assists in the game, but his long-term viability between Krieder and Buchnevich is questionable.

The loss of Zibanejad leaves the Rangers a little light on center depth as well. The Rangers traded Adam Cracknell to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday for center Peter Holland. Holland is expected to start with the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League but could be an option down the middle at some point.

Perhaps the most concerning part, for both Zibanejad and the Rangers going forward is that Zibanejad has been concussed five times dating back to his final season in Sweden in 2011-12. 

His last came during the 2015-16 season when he was with the Ottawa Senators.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Capitals top prospect Ilya Samsonov suffers concussion during KHL game

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More bad news if you’re a fan of the Washington Capitals (as if the team’s 6-6-1 start wasn’t enough), as one of their top prospects was injured in the KHL on Thursday.

Goaltender Ilya Samsonov suffered a concussion in Mettalurg Magnitogorsk’s 3-1 loss to the Lada Togliatti, according to former head coach Ilya Vorobyov (he was fired after the game).

Here’s a fun fact for you: Former Capitals forward Viktor Kozlov was named the team’s new head coach.

Samsonov wasn’t even the starting goalie for Magnitogorsk in this one. He entered the game in relief of starter Vasily Koshechkin.

The 20-year-old was Washington’s first round draft pick, 22nd overall, in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Samsonov has accumulated a 6-5-1 record with a 2.77 goals-against-average and a .912 save percentage in the KHL this season.

Of course, this injury doesn’t affect the Capitals on the ice this season, but concussions can be tricky to deal with, which means they’ll want Samsonov to be extra cautious during his recovery time.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Penguins d-man Schultz suffers concussion vs. Oilers

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We’ve seen this before already this season: Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel teaming up for an overtime winner.

This time, it was Malkin setting up Kessel with a perfect saucer pass before Kessel ripped home that familiar wrist shot off the rush to defeat the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 2-1 on Tuesday.

Connor McDavid — who had gone six games without a goal since his season-opening hat trick against Calgary — scored late in the third period to secure at least the single point on the road for an Edmonton team looking to turn things around after a dismal and disappointing start despite heightened expectations around this group.

Contributing to Edmonton’s loss was the play of Matt Murray in net for Pittsburgh. He made 29 saves, but none better than a desperation stick stop on Mark Letestu during the second period. Count it as a Save of the Year candidate. It kept the game scoreless at the time, allowing Pittsburgh to eventually take the lead.

The win, however, came with some bad news, as injuries piled up for the Penguins throughout this contest. Defenseman Justin Schultz left the game after the first period and didn’t return.

Head coach Mike Sullivan later revealed to reporters that Schultz has been diagnosed with a concussion. Meanwhile, Carter Rowney, who was placed on injured reserve yesterday, has a fractured hand and is expected to miss at least four weeks.

The Penguins recently made a move aimed at helping them up the middle by acquiring Riley Sheahan from Detroit. He recorded an assist and 14:47 of ice time in his Penguins debut.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.