Ekblad suffered concussion on a ‘real cheap shot from behind’

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The losses continue to pile up for the Florida Panthers. So, too, do the injuries.

Panthers interim coach Tom Rowe confirmed post-game that the club’s cornerstone defenseman Aaron Ekblad suffered a concussion on a hit in the second period from Gabrel Dumont. Ekblad left the game and didn’t return. Per the Sun Sentinel, the club also lost forward Denis Malgin to a concussion.

There was no call on the Dumont hit on Ekblad, whose head was slammed into the glass, causing him to fall back to the ice.

However, Rowe had some stern words about the incident.

“I thought the hit on Ekblad was dangerous. We’ll leave it up to the league to review it and see what they think,” he said, later calling the hit “a real cheap shot from behind.”

Ekblad is only 21 years old, but already has a concerning history when it comes to head injuries. During the World Cup prior to this season, he suffered what was first described as a mild concussion before that was changed to a neck injury.

He also went through concussion protocol last year after a hit from Matt Hendricks.

Just more bad news for the Panthers, who surged to a two-goal lead in the first period versus Tampa Bay, but lost 3-2. Ondrej Palat scored the winner with 2:23 remaining in regulation.

The Panthers now have only two wins in their last 10 games.

According to Sports Club Stats, the Panthers now have a 0.6 per cent chance of making the playoffs.

Enstrom out indefinitely with concussion from Sestito hit

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More fallout from Wednesday’s wild Pens-Jets game.

One day after Pittsburgh enforcer Tom Sestito was suspended four games for boarding Tobias Enstrom, the Jets announced that Enstrom is out indefinitely with a concussion suffered on the hit (per Illegal Curve).

Enstrom immediately left the game, a 7-4 Pittsburgh win, and went to local hospital to be checked for a concussion and facial fractures.

This is a tough blow for Winnipeg, a team desperately clinging to fading playoff hopes. The Jets head into tonight’s action five points back of St. Louis for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference, but need to leapfrog both the Kings and Blues to get there. What’s more, Winnipeg has played 68 games to Los Angeles’ 66 and St. Louis’ 65.

The Jets were already down a regular defenseman, as Tyler Myers continues to recover from lower-body surgery. It’s likely that Mark Stuart, who was scratched against Pittsburgh, will draw in to replace Enstrom on Saturday, when the Jets host the red-hot Calgary Flames.

 

Penguins say Hornqvist is dealing with a concussion (but Letang is not)

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Concussions are once again a concern for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who shared some good news and bad news about such injuries following Wednesday’s physical 7-4 win against the Winnipeg Jets.

The good-ish: Pens Inside Scoop (of the team website) passed along word from Mike Sullivan that Kris Letang isn’t dealing with a concussion or anything related to the stroke he suffered in the past. It’s a “hockey-related injury” that he’s currently rehabbing.

So, that seems fairly positive, but the Penguins didn’t provide a timetable for Letang’s return, so we will see.

The not-so-good: Patric Hornqvist, however, is dealing with a concussion. There is at least one element of mild optimism:

The Penguins’ trip continues from March 10-15, so that implies that there’s a chance Hornqvist will only miss four more games (or maybe fewer).

Naturally, concussions can be difficult to gauge, so his outlook could easily change.

Bruins’ Ryan Spooner out indefinitely with concussion

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The Boston Bruins announced some unfortunate news on Tuesday: Ryan Spooner is out indefinitely with a concussion.

Spooner had generated 10 points in his last 13 games, even showing some early chemistry on a third line with Frank Vatrano and Drew Stafford. CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty also notes that Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy had just spoken glowingly about the Bruins’ good health of late.

“Full health is important this time of year. You want to field your best lineup as much as possible, and to have depth to move guys in and out of the lineup to create some competition, which is good,” Cassidy said. “When guys know they have nobody pushing them to get in the lineup, you would hope they wouldn’t get comfortable, but it’s human nature sometimes.”

Well, uh, they don’t need to worry about getting too comfortable. Here’s a peek at what the Bruins’ lines might look like:

The Bruins promoted Austin Czarnik from the AHL in Spooner’s absence.

‘There’s a lot of flaws’ — Smith sounds off on concussion protocol

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Earlier this month, we wrote about Columbus head coach John Tortorella taking issue with the NHL’s concussion protocol.

Now, another vocal critic — Arizona goalie Mike Smith.

In the third period of Monday’s game against Anaheim, Smith was run into by Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg. The collision knocked Smith’s mask off, and a spotter watching the game in Toronto asked that he veteran goalie be removed for concussion testing.

That happened at the 4:29 mark of the third. By the time Smith had been checked out, tested and cleared, there were only 90 seconds remaining — meaning Smith’s night was essentially over. (Marek Langenhamer secured the win in relief).

Arizona’s longtime No. 1 was displeased with the way things played out.

“I think there’s a lot of flaws in the system, especially with the goalie position, and it needs to get fixed,” he said, per the Arizona Republic. “What stops a fourth liner from going and bumping into a goalie? It’s just a two-minute penalty to get your starting goalie out?

“I don’t think it’s happened in a playoff game yet, but I’m sure it will.”

The 35-year-old added that his initial reaction to getting hit — grabbing his face and head — was only an instinct to protect himself, not an indication he suffered a head injury.

Smith also said that, for a goalie, sitting out for as long as he did makes it extremely difficult to jump back into action.

“I’m cleared, but now I’m coming back and now I’m more at risk of injury than before,” he explained.

Smith had yet another issue with the concussion protocol as it pertains to goalies. What if, he asked, the starter gets knocked out and requires testing, then the backup has the exact same thing happen? As unlikely as the scenario sounds, the possibility is out there.

As such, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the league looks to reassess the policy this offseason. In an email to the Republic, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said concussion protocol “is something that has been debated and discussed over a number of years and in great detail.”

One has to think those discussions will continue.