stretcherhossa2getty

Report: ‘Hawks medically clear Hossa from concussion

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The Chicago Blackhawks have cleared forward Marian Hossa from from last year’s season-ending concussion, according the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc.

Hossa suffered the concussion during Game 3 of Chicago’s opening round playoff series against Phoenix, on this hit from Coyotes forward Raffi Torres:

Torres was suspended 25 games for the hit (later reduced to 21) while Hossa missed the remainder of the series and suffered through some dark days of recovery:

“I was so tired. I’d wake up and fall asleep again,” Hossa said. “All of a sudden I’d realize it was nighttime and I wasn’t hungry because I’d feel sick.

“I’d try to open the window and the light hits you and you realize it’s not good. The first three days were the worst days, but slowly it would become a little bit better and better.”

In early October, word broke that Hossa had resumed skating and working out with Chicago’s conditioning coach, but the 33-year-old declined to be interviewed about his progress.

If the medical clearance reports are accurate, Hossa would now officially be locked out and no longer eligible to collect salary or use team facilities/work with team staff.

Hossa is currently in the fourth year of a 12-year, $63.3 million deal that sorta caused the lockout in the first place.

Gardiner out with concussion-like symptoms, but the Marlies won’t call it a concussion

Jake Gardiner

Some concern in Toronto as Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner, currently playing for the AHL Marlies, is out with the dreaded concussion-like symptoms.

Marlies coach Dallas Eakins won’t call it a concussion (where have we heard that before?), only that Gardiner is feeling symptoms in his head and neck (via @KyleTheReporter).

It’s believed Gardiner suffered the injury Saturday when hit (charged, to be specific) by Rochester’s Kevin Porter. Gardiner stayed in the game and even scored the winning goal, but was eventually pulled.

After the game, Eakins said Gardiner “wasn’t in a concussion state, just not feeling quite right.”

Gardiner has been an offensive force this season, tallying nine goals and eight assists in 22 games. The Leafs have high hopes for the 22-year-old who was acquired, along with Joffrey Lupul, from Anaheim in 2011 for François Beauchemin.

Wild’s Bouchard (concussion) back practicing with AHL Houston

Pierre-Marc Bouchard
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Positive sign for Minnesota this week as Pierre-Marc Bouchard resumed practicing after missing extensive time with a concussion.

But given his lengthy history with those types of injuries, it’s not surprising to hear team brass is preaching patience and caution regarding his latest comeback.

The 28-year-old forward returned to the ice with AHL Houston, his first action since missing 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.

So, easy to understand why Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher is taking things slowly this time around.

“We’re trying to see if he can take the next step and get used to some contact again,” Fletcher told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “He’s not where we need him to get, but hopefully he can make progress.”

Getting Bouchard healthy and into the lineup would be a huge boon for the Wild. He’s a gifted offensive player — despite all the injuries, he’s racked up 60 points in his last 96 games — and provides playmaking skill.

That said, it’s unlikely Minnesota is counting on him for the upcoming campaign.

He wasn’t cleared for contact in October — meaning he’s still collecting salary on his five-year, $20.4 million deal — and, as the Star-Tribune suggests, he likely wouldn’t be able to participate in training camp if the season was to begin soon.

Study finds there is “significant underreporting” of concussions in hockey

Sidney Crosby
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A year-long report released on Friday that centered around men’s and women’s college hockey teams in Canada and the United States says coaches would rather have players with possible head injuries to keep playing rather than get them out of the game and checked out.

Alan Maki of The Globe And Mail hears from the lead scientist on the study, Dr. Paul Echlin, about the results they’ve seen through testing Canadian university players. 

“We did a previous study [one year ago] with the CIS without observers,” Echlin said. “We didn’t do MRI imaging and there was only one reported concussion for that season. This past season, we were full on with multiple physicians at games, home and away, and we did imaging. It really demonstrates the underreporting of medical concussions.”

We’ve seen it happen numerous times in the past where a player gets hit hard and appears to suffer issues with staying cognizant only to continue playing in the game. While the NHL has new concussion protocols, the study finds coaches at lower levels aren’t taking the same kind of care.

One coach quoted in Jeff Z. Klein’s piece on this for the New York Times saying, “Unless something is broken, I want them back out playing.”

If this kind of thinking is going to change to help players stay healthy, it’s going to take a lot of change to how people perceive concussions.

Report: Sabres prospect Armia suffers possible concussion in Finnish league

Joel Armia

It appears another Buffalo Sabre has been hurt while playing overseas.

This time, it’s Joel Armia — taken 16th overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft — who reportedly suffered a concussion while playing in Finland’s SM-liiga for Porin Assat.

The news was reported on the Assat website and by Goran Stubb, the NHL’s Director of European Scouting.

Armia’s injury occurred during Saturday’s game against JYP Jyvaskyla, and came just weeks after Buffalo forward Tyler Ennis returned to his Swiss team after missing seven games with a mystery injury.

Armia, 19, was off to a solid start with Assat this season, scoring 9G-4A-13PTS in his first 22 games.

This past summer, he was part of the Sabres prospect camp along with 2012 first round picks Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons — the trio actually skated together on a line that had Buffalo fans excited for the future.