Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with possible concussion


It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.

Update: So far, not so good: it might be a concussion.

Report: NHL has ‘no desire’ to settle concussion lawsuit

Gary Bettman

Just because the NFL settled its concussion lawsuit, don’t be so sure the NHL will do the same.

According to an internal memo that was distributed to the Board of Governors this week and acquired by Yahoo Sports, the NHL believes it has a stronger case than the NFL did and that “despite extensive discovery to date, we have yet to find any document or other evidence that would tend to support the plaintiffs’ theory of the case.”

Due to the lack of “smoking gun,” the hockey league has “no desire” to engage in settlement talks.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has maintained all along that the plaintiffs’ case is without merit.

Related: Former players argue they had ‘no knowledge’ of concussion science

Out since January, Franzen (concussion) suits up for Wings

Detroit Red Wings v Edmonton Oilers

Detroit forward Johan Franzen will play for the first time in seven months tonight when the Wings host the Penguins in exhibition action at the Joe.

Franzen, plagued by post-concussion symptoms since taking this hit from Edmonton’s Rob Klinkhammer in January, was medically cleared to return prior to training camp and has been practicing regularly over the last few weeks.

But he knows he’s pretty susceptible to another concussion.

“If I would get a really bad hit again, and I would feel the same way again, that’s probably it,” he said earlier this week, per WXYZ Detroit.

Franzen is a Red Wing to watch this season.

His lengthy deal — an 11-year, $43.5 million contract with five years left on it — has always been a bone of contention with Detroit fans, partially due to the fact the 35-year-old has had troubles staying healthy.

Franzen has missed 77 games over the last two seasons, and scored a career-low seven goals in ’14-15.

Helm (concussion/shoulder) hopes to be ready for home opener

San Jose Sharks v Detroit Red Wings
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Darren Helm has had quite a bit of bad luck when it comes to injuries, but he doesn’t think his latest setback will end up costing him much time.

Helm crashed into 21-year-old prospect Jerome Verrier during a drill mere minutes into the Red Wings’ training camp. The veteran forward suffered a Grade 1 slight shoulder separation, which is expected to keep him out for two-to-four weeks. That alone might rob him of the opportunity to play in Detroit’s season opener on Oct. 7, but he also sustained a concussion and it’s hard to say how that might impact his recovery.

“I’ve been feeling a little off, a little bit of a headache,” Helm told MLive. “I think we’re going to jump on the bike tomorrow and see how that feels, get the heart rate going, take it from there.

“Hopefully, I can get back for home opener (Oct. 9). If not, then right after that.”

That being said, this isn’t his first concussion and in his own words, “there’s no set timeline in returning.”

He played in 75 games last season, but was limited to 43 contests over the previous two campaigns.

NHL to implement concussion ‘spotters’ at games (Updated)

Sidney Crosby

The NHL is taking a page from the NFL when it comes to concussion protocol.

Over the weekend, deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to Le Journal de Montreal that, this season, there will be “spotters” in the stands looking for signs of player concussions.

This is, as mentioned above, similar to the move the NFL made in 2012 with its ACT Spotters, a program in which certified athletic trainers were in place at every game — in the press box — to watch for potential head injuries.

This year, the NFL placed even more power in the spotters’ hands, allowing them to stop the game and remove a player showing signs of a possible concussion.

There will be some differences between the NHL and NFL systems, however.

From Le Journal (translated):

In the NFL, observers are physicians who are employed by the league and are not confined to a single city.

NHL will be different.

It will not necessarily be a doctor (not a requirement) that will take this position and in addition, that person will be paid by the local team. It will be placed in the stands at a secret location and will always remain in the same city.

Le Journal reports the NHL decided to implement spotters because “too many teams decided to flout” the previous concussion protocol, which called for potentially concussed players to exit the ice and head to the “quiet room” for examination.

Update: Here’s further info from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, some of which is contrary to the Le Journal report.

There have been club concussion spotters for the past few seasons — people hired by teams — but this season they will be independent. There will be two designated people per building with varied backgrounds who will split the games.

Their only given job on any given night will be spotting for any visible signs of concussion. They will log all those incidents into a file.

If or when a club wants to use the league spotter instead of their own, they can do that, in which case the spotter will have communication abilities down to the bench to talk to the trainer. But on most nights, because most clubs want to maintain this responsibility in-house, the new independent spotters are there just logging incidents.