Matt Duchene has been out of the lineup for nearly a week after taking a headshot from Jets d-man Jacob Trouba.
Now, the Avs forward is speaking out about the hit — and not in the fondest of terms.
‘I thought it was pretty vicious,” Duchene told the Denver Post, adding he was “shocked” there was no penalty on the play. “I knew where [Trouba] was and he kind of threw his arm out in desperation. I think it was an unfortunate reaction, but it caught me in the head, chipped a tooth, knocked a tooth loose as well, and obviously gave me a concussion.
“I obviously wasn’t too thrilled with that play.”
The play in question (Trouba also avoided supplemental discipline, FYI):
(Link here, if you’re unable to view)
Duchene has missed Colorado’s last two games while recovering from his concussion, and will be out again tonight when the Avs take on the Stars in Dallas.
This makes for a tough scenario for Avs head coach Jared Bednar, who is also without the services of captain Gabriel Landeskog (lower body).
Matt Duchene did not play in the third period of Colorado’s 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night, and it was announced by coach Jared Bednar on Saturday that he is day-to-day after experience concussion-like symptoms.
Duchene was injured when he was hit in the head by Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba in the second period. Bednar said that Duchene was better this morning but not quite 100 percent. His status for Sunday’s game against the Boston Bruins is obviously not yet known at this point.
If he has to miss any time it would obviously be a huge blow to the Avalanche lineup. Not only is he one of their top forwards, he is currently their leading scorer with 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 13 games and is the only player on the team that has a double-digit point total. He had his first 30-goal season a year ago for the Avalanche.
There was no penalty called on the play, and at this point the NHL’s department of player safety has not made any comment on whether or not Trouba will face any potential discipline.
This is a look at the play.
The Dallas Stars lost to the L.A. Kings on Thursday, and they could also lose forward Patrick Sharp for a period of time to injury, too.
Sharp left the game with concussion symptoms, as per the Stars. He didn’t return. The 34-year-old forward was on the receiving end of a big hit along the boards from Brayden McNabb early in the second period and was put through concussion protocol.
As per Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, Sharp will be out for “a while,” according to head coach Lindy Ruff, who is already dealing with a host of injury problems up front. Stars forward Patrick Eaves also left the game with a lower-body injury and didn’t return.
The Stars lost 4-3 in overtime, as the Kings recorded their first win of the season, although the eventual winning goal was reviewed for possible goalie interference.
From the NHL:
At 1:20 of overtime in the Kings/Stars game, the Situation Room initiated a review under the terms of a Coach’s Challenge to review whether a Los Angeles player interfered with Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen prior to Alec Martinez‘s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line.
Therefore the original call stands – good goal Los Angeles Kings.
Of course, Ruff didn’t agree with the league’s ruling on the play.
The bad news is that Sidney Crosby‘s been down this road with concussions before. The good news is that he’s taken lessons from those tough memories.
Look, there’s no doubt that it’s going to sting for Crosby to sit out tonight’s season-opener for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
They’re raising their Stanley Cup banner, and even if you roll your eyes at Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin talk, there’s little sense denying the Washington Capitals’ position as one of the East’s favorites. It likely burns to watch such an electric game in street clothes.
That said, Crosby’s learned a thing or two since suffering that fateful concussion against David Steckel in 2011.
One might accuse the Penguins and Crosby of rushing back into things that time around, but Crosby’s saying all the right things about avoiding recurring symptoms this time around.
Now, that might be easier said than done – as he admits, every head injury is different – yet it’s heartening that the superstar is taking a cautious approach.
More on Crosby’s concussion situation and history
It’s a good sign that he’s at least practicing
Crosby insists the injury didn’t happen at the injury-heavy World Cup
His previous concussions inspire us to ask: “What if?”
There are times when the NHL’s concussion protocols feel as toothless as its most rugged players. Perhaps that might change starting in 2016-17?
The league backed up reports that additional “concussion spotters” will oversee games in addition to team-specific ones, but this section of the press release shows the most promise:
Specified sanctions will be imposed on Clubs that violate the Concussion Protocol. Clubs that do not remove a Player who requires an evaluation will be subject to a mandatory minimum fine for a first offense, with substantially increased fine amounts for any subsequent offense. Additionally, any Player designated for a mandatory evaluation will not be permitted to re-enter the game unless and until he is evaluated by his Club’s medical staff and cleared to play in accordance with the Protocol.
Interestingly, the league also revealed that on-ice officials can call for a player’s removal if he shows “visible signs of [a] concussion.”
Perhaps these measures won’t be perfect, yet they feel like legitimate improvements after half-measures and tweaks that seemed ineffectual.
Granted, NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika notes that Gary Bettman discussed fining teams for violating concussion protocol in 2014 as well, so we’ll have to see about the follow-through with these tweaks.
(Critics may wonder if concussion-related lawsuits inspired these greater measures, but either way, progress is progress.)
While we may quibble with the way the NHL polices hits, helping players avoiding further injury could be a very nice step in the right direction.
Again, though, we won’t know for sure until we see the new measures in action.