TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 20:  Mikael Backlund #11 of Team Sweden is hit by Sami Lepisto #18 of Team Finland during the third period during the World Cup of Hockey tournament at the Air Canada Centre on September 20, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. Sweden shutout Finland 2-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Flames’ Backlund day-to-day with concussion

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Mikael Backlund is going to miss the remainder of the World Cup for Team Sweden after he was on the receiving end of a massive hit from Finland’s Sami Lepisto in a first round game on Tuesday.

On Friday, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving said (via Dan Rosen of NHL.com) that Backlund has a concussion as a result of the hit and is currently listed as being “day-to-day.”

The 27-year-old Backlund is coming off of a career year for the Flames that saw him record new career highs in goals (21), assists (26) and points (47) in 82 games.

Backlund appeared in two World Cup games for Sweden and did not record a point. He did not play in Sweden’s thrilling 4-3 overtime loss to Team North America on Wednesday.

Sweden will play in the semifinals on Sunday against Team Europe.

 

Grabovski (concussion) not cleared for Isles camp

New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers
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The concussion issues that plagued Mikhail Grabovski throughout last season have gone into this season, too.

Grabovski, who only appeared in 58 games last season, is still dealing with symptoms and, per Newsday, hasn’t been cleared to skate — meaning he’s unable to participate as the Isles open training camp today.

The 32-year-old hasn’t suited up since Mar. 15 of last year, when he returned from a 10-game absence to play 17 minutes in a shootout loss to Pittsburgh.

At the time, the Isles were happy to have Grabovski back in the lineup, but the feeling was fleeting. Immediately after the Pittsburgh game, the club sent Grabovski back to New York for medical evaluation.

He didn’t play another game that year, or in the club’s playoff run.

Despite the injury-plagued campaign, “Grabbo” was reasonably effective in ’15-16. He had nine goals and 25 points while averaging just over 14 minutes per night.

Moving forward, one has to think the Isles are preparing for life without the veteran center. It’s entirely possible Grabovski could open the season on LTIR, which would represent nearly $5 million in cap relief.

The Isles signed Grabovski to a four-year, $20 million a little over two years ago. That contract is set to expire in the summer of 2018.

Report: Panthers want Ekblad pulled from World Cup amid concussion concerns

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 30:  Aaron Ekblad #5 of the Florida Panthers poses for a 2016 NHL All-Star portrait at Bridgestone Arena on January 30, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Sanford Myers/Getty Images)
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Florida isn’t taking any chances with Aaron Ekblad.

Ekblad, the franchise defenseman that was shook up on a Leo Komarov hit during North America’s win over Finland on Sunday, is reportedly on his way back to South Florida and expected to miss the remainder of the World Cup, per the Miami Herald.

From a source within the Panthers organization, the Herald reports Ekblad suffered a “mild concussion” on the hit. Florida also told the NHL it doesn’t want him playing in the tournament anymore.

Team North America brass, meanwhile, isn’t saying much.

GM Peter Chiarelli said Ekblad is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and head coach Todd McLellan reiterated that diagnosis following North America’s 4-3 loss to Russia on Monday night — a game in which Ekblad was scratched and replaced by Jacob Trouba.

“Upper-body, day-to-day, don’t know how long he’ll be,” McLellan said. “And it’s a big loss.”

It’s not coincidental that “TNA” lost its first game without Ekblad in the lineup. The first overall pick in 2014, Ekblad burst onto the NHL scene and has emerged as arguably the best young defensive prospect in hockey.

After capturing the Calder in ’14-15, he racked up an impressive 15 goals and 36 points in his sophomore campaign last season, receiving a handful of Norris votes in the process.

Ekblad quickly emerged as a linchpin on the North American blueline. He averaged close to 22 minutes per game in the three exhibitions, finishing with two goals and an assist, then played a team-high 23:53 in the win over Finland.

It’s pretty obvious why the Panthers want Ekblad out of this tournament.

He’s a budding star, already one of the faces of the franchise and a major investment — this summer, he inked a monster eight-year, $60 million extension with Florida, one that will keep him with the organization through 2025.

Because of that, it’s almost impossible to think Ekblad will return to play for Team North America in this tournament.

Update: Aaron Ekblad deals with ‘mild’ concussion

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 18: Aaron Ekblad #5 of Team North America takes a check from Valtteri Filppula #51 and Leo Komarov #71 of Team Finland in the second period during the World Cup of Hockey at the Air Canada Center on September 18, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Update: Aaron Ekblad is dealing with a “mild concussion,” according to reporters including ESPN’s Craig Custance.

Team North America GM Peter Chiarelli would only say he’s day-to-day during Sportsnet’s second intermission of tonight’s game against Russia.

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Tough news for North America and the Florida Panthers: Aaron Eklbad cannot play against Russia because of an upper-body injury.

North America at least has a nice option in reserve, as Jacob Trouba takes Ekblad’s place.

The belief (according to onlookers including Postmedia’s Michael Traikos) is that Ekblad was injured thanks to a Leo Komarov hit. You can actually see the moment of contact in the photo above, as Ekblad is almost lost in the mass of humanity.

Stephanie “My Regular Face” also has the GIF of the hit that may have hurt Ekblad:

Neither Team North America nor the Panthers have provided any additional information regarding how serious Ekblad’s upper-body injury is, at least beyond sidelining for at least this game.

If it’s significant, this is another bullet point for GMs who may argue against the World Cup of Hockey becoming a fixture.

Daly: NHL adding more concussion spotters this season

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WASHINGTON (AP) The NHL is revamping its concussion monitoring system for the upcoming season.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says the league will have four concussion spotters watching all games from a centralized location in either Toronto or New York, as well as spotters at each game to check for visible symptoms. Those spotters will have the authority to have players removed from games.

Previously, there had been team-affiliated concussion spotters in each arena and they could recommend but not require players be removed from a game.

Daly says the new concussion policy goes into effect for the eight-team World Cup of Hockey, which begins Saturday in Toronto, and that the NHL will release more details closer to the start of the regular season.

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