Brian Burke
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Burke: Flames concussion protocol was ‘followed to the letter’ in Wideman case


On the same day Dennis Wideman‘s suspension was reduced to 10 games after an appeal to a neutral arbitrator, Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke defended his team’s medical staff, saying proper concussion protocol was followed with Wideman during the incident.

Seconds before Wideman collided with linesman Don Henderson, the Flames defenseman was hit awkwardly into the boards and appeared woozy as he got to his skates. As he was skating back to the bench, he made contact with the official, prompting a 20-game suspension from the league.

Wideman remained in that game, despite the hit.

“A player can exhibit concussion symptoms after a game and our protocol was followed to the letter. The trainers spoke to him, felt he was lucid … and he stayed in the game and finished the game without any difficulty,”  Burke told reporters in a press conference on Friday.

“After the game he complained of symptoms, was given a test and registered concussion symptoms. But nothing fell through the cracks.”

It’s worth noting that Wideman spoke to reporters after the game, saying the contact with Henderson wasn’t intentional.

Wideman has missed 19 games as a result of the ban. The Flames play the Arizona Coyotes on Friday, and he’ll be back in the lineup.

In a statement released Friday by the NHLPA, the union said: “Given that it was undisputed that Dennis suffered a concussion mere seconds prior to his collision with linesman Don Henderson, we felt strongly that there should have been no discipline.”

(The NHLPA made a similar statement in February, when it was decided an appeal would be launched.)

Given the length of this specific process through a neutral arbitrator, Burke said he hopes it will be “expedited” for the next occurrence.

“To throw rocks at anyone about the length of time it took, I think is counterproductive,” said Burke.

“I do think they need to … streamline this for the next player that goes through this.”

Wild put Zucker (concussion) on IR after Rozsival hit


On Wednesday, Minnesota put forward Jason Zucker on injured reserve with a concussion, stemming from the big hit he took from Chicago blueliner Michal Rozsival during Sunday’s outdoor game at TCF Bank Stadium.

Zucker was severely shaken up on the play, which netted Rozsival a game misconduct. The Wild forward needed assistance leaving the ice, and appeared to have struck his head on the playing surface after being checked.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in Minnesota’s loss to the Isles on Tuesday.

Looking ahead, two things to monitor: 1) how long Zucker will be out of the lineup, and 2) if his absence will force Wild GM Chuck Fletcher into making a move by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

Zucker had a highly productive season last year, with 21 goals in 51 games, and had 22 points through 58 games this year.

To fill his spot on the roster, the Wild have recalled Jordan Schroeder from AHL Iowa.

McDonagh has jaw contusion and neck spasms, but no concussion


Here’s some good news for the New York Rangers.

The team confirmed that defenseman Ryan McDonagh didn’t suffer a concussion in Thursday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

McDonagh was forced from the game after he took an elbow to the head from Leafs forward Leo Komarov (above).

Komarov received a three-game suspension for his actions.

The elbow from Komarov still did some damage to McDonagh.

He’s dealing with a jaw contusion and neck spasms, according to the team’s Twitter account.

The Rangers defenseman didn’t practice on Saturday, and there’s still no word on when he’ll be able to return to the lineup.

This incident occurred less than two weeks after McDonagh suffered a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The concussion kept the 26-year-old out of the lineup for four games.

Bylsma hopes to get Ennis (concussion) back this season

Chicago Blackhawks vs Buffalo Sabres
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Tyler Ennis remains out of the Buffalo Sabres lineup with a concussion, and there appears to still be no real timetable for any possible return.

Ennis, 26, hasn’t played since Dec. 30, when he was initially listed as week to week with an upper-body injury after taking a massive hit from Alex Ovechkin.

This is a season for Ennis that has been largely disrupted by injury. He has only three goals and 11 points in 23 games.

Ennis, who has hit the 20-goal plateau on three occasions, comes with a cap hit of $4.6 million and is signed through the 2018-19 season, as per General Fanager.

Last month, it was reported by Pierre LeBrun of ESPN that the Sabres would listen to offers on Ennis, although question marks surrounding his status could hamper that.

After four-game absence, McDonagh (concussion) back for Rangers

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) controls the puck in front of New Jersey Devils left wing Mike Cammalleri during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
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The Rangers are getting their captain back for tonight’s big game against Chicago.

Ryan McDonagh, who’s been out with a concussion since taking a punch from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, will return from a four-game absence on Wednesday evening at MSG.

The return is a big boon, obviously. Aside from being the team’s leader, McDonagh leads all Rangers skaters in TOI (22:45 per game) and sits second among d-men in scoring with 26 points.

Tonight is also a measuring stick game for the Blueshirts. New York has won five of its last six and would love to close out this current three-game homestand with a win over the defending Stanley Cup champs.