Eager Kassian2

Oilers’ Eager diagnosed with concussion

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On Wednesday, Edmonton Oilers head coach Ralph Kruger announced that forward Ben Eager has been diagnosed with a concussion.

Eager, 29, suffered the injury during a third period fight with Zack Kassian in Edmonton’s season-opening victory over Vancouver.

Eager didn’t return to the contest following his tilt with Kassian and was held out of the Oilers’ 6-3 loss to San Jose on Tuesday night.

For exactly how Kassian caused the concussion, we direct your attention to this video:

And this photo, courtesy The Score:

source:

It should be noted that Eager does have a history with concussions.

He missed three games with one at the start of the 2011-12 campaign and missed a number of games with a concussion (and concussion symptoms) during his time in Chicago.

Wild activate Bouchard (concussion) from IR

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Ravaged by concussion issues over the last three seasons, Pierre-Marc Bouchard is ready to return to action.

The Minnesota Wild activated Bouchard from injured reserve on Thursday, suggesting he’ll be in the lineup and ready to play on Saturday when the Wild host Colorado.

Bouchard, 28, missed the final 41 games of last year due to a concussion suffered on this hit from Winnipeg’s Zach Bogosian:

It was the latest in a long line of concussion issues for Bouchard, who missed 112 of 113 games over a span from March 2009 to December 2010.

Last month, Bouchard resumed practicing with AHL Houston and told Mike Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune he’d been “pretty much symptom free” for a few weeks.

A gifted offensive player — despite all the injuries, he’s racked up 60 points in his last 96 games — Bouchard will add some punch to a Minnesota lineup that looks to have far more scoring depth than a year ago.

Russo reports Bouchard will skate on the third like with Kyle Brodziak (Wild’s second-leading goalscorer last year, with 22) and Cal Clutterbuck.

That unit will be behind the top line of Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley and the second line of Matt Cullen-Mikael Granlund-Devin Setoguchi.

Chicago’s Montador (concussion) not close to returning

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The Blackhawks could be without the services of Steve Montador for a long while.

The 33-year-old defenseman is still dealing with serious post-concussion symptoms and hasn’t skated with teammates in weeks, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Montador can’t elevate his heart rate without suffering symptoms and will reportedly “concentrate on becoming healthy in every day life” before figuring out what’s next for his playing career.

Montador signed a four-year, $11 million deal with Chicago prior to last season and got off to a solid start, racking up 14 points in his first 52 games.

But his season took an unfortunate turn in February, when he suffered a concussion against Colorado. He returned for one game — Mar. 27 against New Jersey — but only lasted four minutes before he was pulled from action and shut down for the year.

Montador then suffered more misfortune during the lockout.

After being medically cleared by team doctors, he began skating during informal practices…during which he collided with a teammate and suffered another head injury.

He hasn’t returned to the ice since.

Note: According to Chris Kuc of the Tribune, Montador was the only Blackhawks player not to pass his physical during training camp.

No concussion for Backstrom: “We can all be calm”

Nicklas Backstrom
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Feel free to relax, Capitals fans — Nicklas Backstrom doesn’t have a concussion and expects to be in Washington’s lineup when the season starts.

Backstrom confirmed he visited a concussion specialist this week, but it turns out it was “more the neck, a stiff neck.”

The 25-year-old suffered the neck injury (if you can call a stiff neck an injury) when he was checked into the boards on Dec. 26 in a KHL game.

“I feel good, a hundred percent,” Backstrom said Friday, as per CSNWashington.com. “I know there’s a lot of speculation about what’s going on but it’s something I wanted to check out. It’s no concussion. We can all be calm.”

Backstrom missed 40 games with a concussion last season, thus all the speculation.

Primeau, Shanahan appear in “Head Games” documentary about concussions

Brendan Shanahan
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Concussions and controversial hits have faded into the background thanks to the lockout, but head injuries are still a major concern and storyline in modern sports.

Filmmaker Steve James (of “Hoop Dreams” fame) decided to tackle the issue of concussions in his 2011 documentary “Head Games,” which includes prominent appearances from Brendan Shanahan and Keith Primeau.*

The documentary leans heaviest toward the NFL and football in general, but the NHL’s issues – and measures to make changes – also surface frequently. Some of the clips and photos might bring back some tough memories, as the movie shows memorable checks such as Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty and also discusses the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Bob Probert.

Yet even though James’ documentary brings up some difficult questions for hockey and sports in general, James told NHL.com that the league has been progressive in many areas.

“I do think all the sports have a ways to go in terms of how they handle rules and discussions around concussions, but the NHL has certainly been more forward-thinking on this issue than football,” James said.

” … I think the fact that Brendan Shanahan has taken that role and taken it very seriously is a very positive thing. Daly was obvious and candid about the League’s view [in the film]. He basically said there is going to be brain injuries, no way around it. I think it was great he was willing to state it.”

You can read a little more about it – including Primeau’s emotional presence in the film – in NHL.com’s article or check out the movie via various outlets. (It’s on Netflix Instant Queue, for instance.)

* -You might not be as excited to see Bill Daly thanks to his prominence in the CBA discussions, but he makes a cameo, too.