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Bruins turn to Khudobin after Rask diagnosed with concussion

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A bad start to the season officially got worse on Thursday as the Boston Bruins announced that Tuukka Rask has been diagnosed with a concussion.

The 30-year-old netminder collided with Anders Bjork during practice on Wednesday and needed to be helped off the ice. Anton Khudobin will start Thursday night against the Canucks and Zane MacIntyre will serve as his backup.

The Bruins are 2-3-0 on the season with a minus-4 goal differential. Rask has struggled as well with an ugly .887 even strength save percentage in four starts. With four games over the next 11 days, the hope is that either Khudobin or MacIntyre can right the ship as Rask heals.

“I feel good. Camp was good and everything is fine, and I’ve started better than last year,” said Khudobin via NBC Sports Boston. “My role is just day-to-day. Today is a game day and hopefully, you get a good result, and then tomorrow is another new day.”

As the Bruins get David Backes and possibly Patrice Bergeron back, they’ve watched as Rask and Ryan Spooner (4-6 weeks) leave the lineup with injury. Having a roster in flux while you’re trying to find some consistency will be a tough ask for head coach Bruce Cassidy and his players.

The 31-year-old Khudobin has played well in two appearances this season, stopping 32 of 33 shots faced and posting a .970 ESSV%.

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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.

Leon Draisaitl out with concussion symptoms

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We already knew the Edmonton Oilers were going to be without forward Leon Draisaitl for Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators due to what was initially described as an eye injury and perhaps a possible concussion.

On Saturday, coach Todd McLellan confirmed that star forward is actually dealing with concussion-type symptoms.

“He’s had an eye injury, the eye was swollen shut but obviously the eye is attached to the head which leads to the concussion type symptoms,” said McLellan. “That’s what we’re dealing with.”

The Oilers have a pretty daunting schedule coming up over the next week so if they are without Draisaitl for an extended period of time it could be a struggle for them. He was injured in Monday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, but nobody seems to know when exactly it happened.

In three games this season Draisaitl has one goal and two assists.

He signed an eight-year, $68 million contract extension with the Oilers over the summer after a 77 point (29 goal, 48 assist) season.

Okposo is ‘happy to be back’ after dealing with scary concussion-related symptoms

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo happily looks to the future now that he’s fully recovered from concussion-related symptoms which nearly derailed his career in March.

Saying he’s not dwelling on the past, Okposo was eager to rejoin the Sabres after skating with numerous teammates for practice a little more than a week before the team opens training camp. Though he’s has been skating for much of the summer, Tuesday marked his first time on the ice in Buffalo since being hospitalized late last season.

“It was obviously a tough situation, a tough road,” Okposo said. “I’m just happy to be back and happy to be able to play again, and play at a high level.”

He acknowledged questioning if he would ever get better before he started feeling “clear” in May.

“It was definitely a scary thing,” Okposo said. “Your mind starts to question a lot of things.”

In a letter posted on the Sabres website in July, Okposo wrote he began losing weight and had difficulty sleeping after what he described as “a routine hit” in practice. He played one game before the symptoms worsened.

Okposo then spent nearly a week in Buffalo General Hospital’s Neuro Surgical ICU to be stabilized in April.

The 29-year-old from St. Paul, Minnesota, had 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points in 65 games during his first season with Buffalo. Okposo signed a $42 million, seven-year contract with the Sabres in free agency last year.

Sidney Crosby wasn’t aware of concussion talk during Stanley Cup run

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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) Sidney Crosby said Wednesday he did not pay attention to those questioning whether he should continue playing hockey after suffering another concussion during the playoffs.

Crosby was too focused on capturing another Stanley Cup for his Pittsburgh Penguins to worry about outside opinions on his health.

“I don’t really read or listen to that stuff during the playoffs,” Crosby told reporters at his annual hockey camp in his hometown of Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia.

Crosby has suffered multiple concussions during his career, including one during Game 3 of the second round against Washington in May. He missed one game before returning for Game 5, prompting questions about whether he should consider retirement.

The Penguins went on to win a second straight Cup, defeating the Nashville Predators in the final.

Crosby said he understands why concussions generate so much controversy.

“It’s a hot topic,” he said. “That’s the nature of it right now.”

He said more information on how to deal with head injuries is becoming available all the time.

“You have to continue to listen to your body to make sure before you go back that you’re good to go,” he said. “There’s things in place to help with that.”

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

Flyers prospect Laberge ‘had to sleep all day’ after suffering concussion

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Months after getting drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers, Pascal Laberge suffered a concussion on a vicious head shot during a QMJHL regular season game last October.

He then missed all but two games over essentially a two-month period as a result. In the end, he was held to just 46 games for the Victoriaville Tigres, scoring 12 goals and 32 points. He then had two goals in four playoff games.

This week at Flyers’ development camp, the 19-year-old Laberge went into detail about the difficult times he endured during his concussion and how difficult it was to come back from once he was healthy enough to play.

From CSN Philly:

Regaining confidence was a barricade for Laberge following his return from his concussion, especially when going toward the boards. “You’re kind of shy to go there,” he said. He often played looking over his shoulder and said it took about two months for him to fully recover.

“The first month,” he said, “I couldn’t wake up. I had to sleep all day.”

Laberge has battled through an immense amount of adversity away from the rink as a teenager.

In a piece for the Players’ Tribune, he talked about the passing of his stepmom after a brief battle with cancer, his father’s cancer diagnosis and his mother’s battle with multiple sclerosis.

Despite everything he faced, Laberge was able to score 23 goals and 68 points in his draft year, eventually going in the second round, 36th overall, to the Flyers. He signed his entry-level deal a few weeks later.