Tag: concussion worries

Nicklas Backstrom

Nicklas Backstrom sitting out tonight as a precaution

It turns out that the Capitals are going to be a bit more careful with Nicklas Backstrom.

After getting an elbow in the head from Rene Bourque, Backstrom has been practicing and working out like normal with the Caps. Coach Dale Hunter tells Mike Vogel of Dump And Chase that they’re going to err on the side of caution with Backstrom, however, and sit him out of tonight’s game against the Sharks.

“He’s not going to play,” says Caps coach Dale Hunter of Backstrom. “We’re just being careful. He feels good, but you’ve still got to be careful with it.”

Backstrom has said all along that he feels fine and that all is well, but you can’t blame the Capitals for being careful with their No. 1 centerman. After all, Backstrom is their top setup man and the guy that helps the Caps offense go. Having him sit out one game sure beats having him miss more after putting his health at risk. It’s just another example of a team taking concussion worries much more seriously.

Maybe it was David Krejci who put Sidney Crosby on the shelf

Sidney Crosby, David Krejci

We know that Sidney Crosby is going to be out of action for the Penguins’ next two games, but what was the hit that got Crosby back on the Pens’ watch list? Seems that his collision with teammate Chris Kunitz is the one that everyone has paid attention to, but Mike Colligan of The Hockey Writers found another one that might’ve done the trick.

Colligan points out a battle near the Pittsburgh bench early in the game between Crosby and David Krejci that saw Krejci innocently play the puck and spin to pass it, accidentally catching Crosby right in the face with his elbow.

There’s no ill intent, no purpose to hurt anyone, it was just a hockey play. Not one of those Colin Campbell hockey plays where a guy misses months of action, just your regular run-of-the-mill turn and fire with the puck. Colligan notes that Crosby went right after Krejci later in the period to voice his displeasure.

Here’s video of the play in question.

Crosby stayed in the game after this and later ran into Kunitz making the whole game a bit of a mess for Pittsburgh. With how much the Penguins have riding on Crosby’s health and the nervousness about seeing him sustain another head injury, holding him out of action this weekend makes sense.

Could something as innocuous as this be the sort of thing that undoes all the months of rehab though? Let’s hope not.

Canucks lose Dan Hamhuis to his second concussion this year after huge hit

Dan Hamhuis

Vancouver’s ability to withstand crucial injuries will be tested once again, and this time it’s their defense that suffers another blow. Dan Hamhuis was knocked out of today’s game against Columbus with a concussion after hitting his head on the ice after a huge hit involving Rick Nash and his defensive partner Kevin Bieksa.

Hamhuis was immediately supervised under the league’s new concussion protocol and did not return to the game.  The concussion is the second one that Hamhuis has suffered this season. He missed five games in February after taking a big, and questionable, hit from Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf. Suffering another head injury nearly two months later will certainly ensure that Hamhuis’ recovery time is extended.

Losing Hamhuis is a big setback for the Canucks blue line this late in the year when they were finally starting to get everyone back into action. Having been without the likes of Bieksa, Keith Ballard, and Sami Salo for significant chunks of this season and still going without Alexander Edler and Andrew Alberts now. Coming back into focus now will be the Canucks depth and with Aaron Rome and Chris Tanev set to likely see more time, players they weren’t banking on being big on minutes will now likely be helping the Canucks make a run at the Stanley Cup.

Championship teams persist through adversity and the Canucks have certainly had plenty of that this year including Manny Malhotra’s season-ending eye injury. Can they overcome this shot to their defense? If the regular season is a proper measuring stick, they should be able to do just fine.

Did Mikhail Grabovski suffer a concussion last night? Concussion debate rages on


Last night, Mikhail Grabovski was a hero to the Maple Leafs scoring twice including the game-winner with just over a minute to play, a goal good enough to be our goal of the night. Grabovski, however, was nearly put out of the game thanks to two wicked hits from Zdeno Chara, the last of which left him visibly dazed.

While Grabovski’s efforts were indeed heroic in leading the Leafs to victory, with concussions being the hot button topic of the day, many are wondering still a day later how in the world he was able to get back into the game and then still contribute. It’s not as if Chara is just a regular sized guy hitting you.

After the game, Grabovski told Jonas Siegel afterwards about how he felt and, well, it came off as amusing, heroic, and eyebrow-raising all at once.

“I feel bruise in my eyes,” he smiled afterwards, “but like I tell it before it give me more motivation to play harder.”

A bruise in my eyes? Well I suppose so, but that doesn’t sound healthy at all that’s for sure and after getting your head smashed into the boards, you have to worry about a head injury, especially a concussion.

Leafs GM Brian Burke made it clear today that all is well with Grabovski as he told James Mirtle of the Globe & Mail.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke said today that Grabovski did not suffer a concussion during the game.

“He would not have been allowed to return to play had he exhibited any symptoms of concussion,” Burke said via e-mail.

Burke added that Grabovski would not need to see a specialist today given a concussion had already been ruled out.

As we’ve seen in the past with some players, the concussion doesn’t always show up immediately. You could argue that that’s what happened with Sidney Crosby after being hit by David Steckel in the Winter Classic and it took taking another blow in his next game to put him out indefinitely.

Chris FitzGerald of The National Post in Canada got the take from a former NHLer that saw his career end too soon because of concussions in former Flyers standout Keith Primeau. Primeau is a major advocate of changing how things are done so players can be spared leaving the game early the way he was forced to. Playing through a possible concussion, Primeau says, should not be an option.

He said a great deal of the diagnostic procedure still relies on self-reporting from the athlete — an athlete who is often not eager to leave the field of play.

“And that’s where, subjectively, it has to change,” Primeau said. “There needs to be a much more objective approach.”

As Darren Dreger notes in his Dreger Report today, if certain changes to how the NHL handles in-game situations like this are made, situations like last night’s potentially risky heroics by Grabovski might soon become a thing of the past.

For Grabovski, or any other player who visibly displays similar symptoms next season, it could be game over.

The NHL’s Concussion Working Group met during All-Star Weekend in Raleigh and discussed developing criteria for mandatory dressing room evaluation prior to a player being able to return.

While everyone begins learning more about what goes into treating a concussion and whether or not a player has actually suffered an injury like this, the more people are going to debate this matter. Keeping the player’s health in mind is the biggest concern, but if a team’s ability to win a game is hindered by not having a definitive answer as to what’s wrong, you know that this debate will rage on even harder.