Welcome back: Shea Weber cleared to play


Nashville can breathe a little easier today.

The Predators announced that team captain Shea Weber has been cleared to play today and will be in the lineup for tonight’s game against Dallas.

Weber missed four games with his concussion suffered thanks to a hit from Stars defenseman Mark Fistric. Getting the chance to get back out on the ice tonight against the Stars all over again gives Weber the opportunity to unleash any frustrations he had from being injured. Getting to do it against the team that knocked you out of action makes for a nice welcome back gift.

In the four games Weber missed, Nashville went 3-1-0 with two shootout wins and allowed just one goal in both shootout wins. It’s a small sample size, but the Predators played strong without him thanks to Ryan Suter stepping up his game. Say, they might want to keep both of those guys around for a while.

Victor Hedman out indefinitely with concussion


Ever since Victor Hedman left in the middle of Tuesday’s game against the Flyers, people have braced themselves for the worst. Today, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman delivered the news that people were afraid to hear: the budding star defenseman will be sidelined indefinitely with a concussion.

As everyone around the hockey world has learned, concussions are impossible to predict. When responding to a question about Hedman’s timetable for a return, Yzerman said: “You’re concerned obviously with what’s going on around the league right now. But it’s day to day.”

Unfortunately, Hedman has been unable to practice since leaving the game against Philadelphia after only four minutes of ice time. Yzerman explained that right now, Hedman is “trying to do normal day-to-day activities.”

Take that however you wish.

Even though Hedman’s offensive statistics haven’t been what the organization would like to see for the 2009 second overall pick, he’s working over 22 minutes per night for the team that has depends on him in every situation. He’s one of Tampa’s leading penalty killers and has drawn some of the most difficult assignments on a nightly basis.

Now, he’ll be battling with a much different foe while he tries to work his way back to the ice. In the meantime, the Lightning will have to find a way to improve upon the team defense that is tied for the second worst in the entire league.

Losing one of their best defensemen isn’t going to help.

Shea Weber’s potential quick comeback seems risky


The news of Shea Weber being diagnosed with a concussion got the hockey world to feel terrible about head injuries all over again yesterday. Weber has been out of action since being hit by Mark Fistric last Friday, but there’s a chance he won’t be out of action very long.

Predators coach Barry Trotz said that there’s a chance Weber could play on Friday night against St. Louis but you can’t help but feel that that might be a bad idea.

Yes, the Predators obviously missed Weber’s presence against Detroit on Monday night and if one game was a sufficient sample size it showed how much he means to the team.  A guy of his size and with how he plays, however, not giving him a bit more time to recover from a concussion, no matter how slight it may be, can’t be a bad thing.

Getting Weber back on the ice is key to the success of the Predators, but having him out there to potentially get dinged again and put out of action even longer is a huge risk for both player and team.

Erring on the side of caution with concussions is never a bad thing, we suggested the same care for Claude Giroux a couple weeks ago, but Weber’s abilities make his situation more daunting. Giroux isn’t a physical force on the ice the way Weber is.

Different guys handle concussions differently, we just hope Weber’s speedy recovery is thanks to him being healthy and not him putting his health at risk for the team.

Sidney Crosby put on injured reserve… again


We were told that Sidney Crosby was only supposed to miss a couple of games because the player and the team wanted to err on the side of caution. First it was a two-game mini road trip that he was supposed to miss. Then it was announced by the Penguins that he’d be out “indefinitely,” but he was still on their roster to return as soon as he felt like he like he was ready to go. Then there was today’s news.

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that Sidney Crosby has been retroactively placed on injured reserve as he tries to recover from his concussion-like symptoms. The move (along with Robert Bortuzzo heading to IR) allowed the team to clear up a couple of roster spots so they could recall Jason Williams and Carl Sneep from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre. Yet at this point, corresponding roster moves are the last thing on NHL fans minds.

Does this mean that he’s going to be out for an extended period of time? Not necessarily. The main reason that the Penguins would put Crosby on IR would be so it creates a roster spot for a forward that is able to play; Jason Williams for example. However, it makes one wonder if the team is preparing for a longer absence when they reach to the AHL affiliate for reinforcements.

Crosby had been playing well since initially coming back from the concussion he suffered in January. He managed to rack up 12 points in only eight games–including four points in his first game back against the New York Islanders on November 21.

At first, Crosby was just taking a few games off as a precautionary measure because he “didn’t feel right.” Now the team is bringing in someone to replace him on the roster while things get sorted. It’s a significant step.

The Pens superstar has already been scratched in four games since being sidelined. The strong Penguins have had a 1-3 record over the recent stretch, but they’ve been dealing with injuries to Kris Letang, Jordan Staal, and Zbynek Michalek among others; and now Paul Martin is out with a lower-body injury.

But far more important than any short-term success (or failure) for the Penguins is the long-term recovery for the face of the league. It’s hard to look at this most recent development as good news for anyone.

Chris Pronger’s season could be over


Sportsnet is reporting that Philadelphia Flyers captain Chris Pronger (concussion) will be shut down indefinitely and could miss the remainder of the 2011-12 campaign.

Pronger met with neurologists Thursday for an examination by the same doctors that dealt with Sidney Crosby. He’s been out of the Flyers lineup since Nov. 19 with post-concussion symptoms.

According to reports, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said the organization would make an official announcement on Pronger once he and the team had spoken with the doctors.

That led to the following tweets from Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos and TSN’s Bob  McKenzie:



In the interest of fair and balanced Twitter reportage, it should be noted that Philadelphia media folk (Sarah Baicker, Tim Panaccio and Frank Seravalli) say reports of Pronger’s season being over are premature.