Tag: Keith Primeau

Brendan Shanahan

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

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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.

PHT Morning Skate: Huberdeau, MacKinnon, and Drouin show their stuff vs. Russia

Nathan MacKinnon - Getty

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau had two goals while 2013 draft prospects Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin each had a goal and three assists to lead the QMJHL stars over Russia in Game 2 of the Subway Super Series. (CBC Sports)

Meanwhile, the Karjala Tournament is underway in Europe and Finland surprised Russia with a shootout win thanks to Pekka Rinne. (RT.com)

Tyler Seguin is feeling better about where the lockout is headed. Keep in mind he was 11 or 12 years-old during the last one. (CSNNE.com)

Just so Seguin isn’t out on a limb, Jets captain Andrew Ladd is hopeful as well. (Winnipeg Sun)

Keith Primeau has a new book on the way discussing concussions. (Montreal Gazette)

A Soo Greyhounds player gets hit with a  15-game suspension for a check to the head. Punishing shots to the head severely? What a novel approach! (Globe And Mail)

Mirtle with a great look at Adam Oates cementing his legacy in the Hall of Fame. (Globe And Mail)

Primeau calls Crosby “ambassador for people who have brain injuries”

Sidney Crosby

Keith Primeau — 14-year NHLer and outspoken advocate for concussion prevention — is praising Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby for displaying courage and foresight in the face of his latest concussion setback.

“Crosby is an ambassador for people who have brain injuries and who have endured head trauma,” Primeau told the Tribune-Review. “People are looking up to his courage as we speak.”

Primeau was forced into retirement at age 34 after suffering a series of concussions (four of them documented). Now 39, Primeau still struggles daily with the after-effects — he told the Canadian Press in November that exertion and exercise makes him lightheaded.

As such, Primeau is now the driving force behind stopconcussions.com, a website he co-founded. It’s designed to heighten awareness about baseline testing, post-concussion syndrome, CTE and more.

In speaking about Crosby, Primeau appreciated the patience and caution shown by No. 87 when he didn’t feel well following Monday’s loss to Boston. Professional athletes don’t always put their health first, according to Primeau.

“For me and my quest, seeing Sidney do the right thing is special,” he said. “The culture we’re brought up in with the hockey world just tells us to play through injuries. That may seem like courage, but it really isn’t.

“This is an injury that can be debilitating. The fact is, Sidney had the courage to speak up when something wasn’t right. Good for him. Maybe people don’t realize it, but that’s a true sign of courage. It really is.”

Ex-NHLer leading charge in concussion awareness

keith primeau getty

Most folks remember 16-year-NHL veteran Keith Primeau for his on-ice accomplishments: Two All-Star Game appearances, 619 points in 909 games and scoring the goal to end the longest game in (modern) NHL playoff history.

But with his career now over, Primeau wants to be remembered as something else — a pioneer in hockey concussion research and treatment.

Primeau, 39, retired in 2006 after suffering his fourth concussion.  He still feels the effects today.

“I’m still not able to exercise or exert high energy levels, because it makes me lightheaded,” he told the Canadian Press.

In an effort to keep this from happening to other players, Primeau is promoting the Impact Indicator. It’s a LED device with a small light worn as part of the chin strap, measuring the impact of a blow.

A green light is normal. A dangerous hit and the light will flash red.

The microsensor measures the force and duration of a hit. A red light means a level of impact that has a 50 per cent or higher probability of concussion.

Because concussion symptoms often develop over several hours, a red light takes out the guesswork about whether to remove a player from the game before another more devastating blow.

Reports indicate that “thousands” of football players in the U.S. started wearing the device after it became available for purchase last month. That includes Houston Texans WR Derrick Mason who, along with several of his teammates, has started wearing the indicator in games.

“Everything to this point has been subjective, we go to the sideline and ask our coach or trainer or parent whether they feel we’ve suffered through a possible concussive event,” said Primeau. “With this, as a coach, it would enable me to remove a player from competition, to err on the side of caution, to see if in fact (a concussion) was the case.”

To read more about Primeau’s work with concussion awareness, visit his website: Stopconcussions.com

Eric Lindros feels rule changes have led to more concussions

Eric Lindros

If there’s a guy who has played in the NHL that would know a thing about what it’s like to deal with concussions, it’s Eric Lindros. The former Flyers star made his career as a punishing power forward and scorer in the NHL during his 14 seasons in the league. He also became famous for getting blown up with crushing body checks and suffering numerous concussions.

When Lindros retired from the league after the 2006-2007 season, it was apparent that repeated concussions left a mark on his career that saw him go from a dominating force in the NHL and winning the NHL MVP award in 1995 to a shell of himself and often injured when his career wrapped up with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Dallas Stars.

Today, Lindros spoke out about the NHL’s hot button topic in concussions and he had a few things to say about how the changes made to make the game more free-flowing have helped make it more dangerous.

Steve Green of Sun Media in Canada has the story.

“They did away with the red line (for the two-line offside pass), so the rate of speed through the neutral zone is much higher. Defencemen can’t help their partners by slowing opponents down between the blue line and the top of the circle and goalies can’t play the puck behind the goal line outside that (trapezoid) area.

“Would Raffi Torres have been coming through the neutral zone as fast as he was otherwise?” he added of the Vancouver forward’s hit on Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks during their fist-round playoff series, which earned Torres an interference penalty, but no suspension. “Everyone’s being so reactive right now, but the problem’s actually been there for a long time. I think there are some strides being made, though.”

Fans and media alike have been critical of changes like the goalie’s trapezoid area, but the speed and skill of the game has made the game more entertaining and enjoyable for fans. Cutting down on obstruction through the neutral zone coupled with penalties being called more often for hooking and holding infractions have helped scoring pick up and the flow of the game to maximize.

As for the problems that some players have with keeping the elbows down and with running players from behind that also lead to head injuries, Lindros’ commentary was stiff for those guilty of that as well. A certain Pittsburgh Penguins forward drew most of Lindros’ ire while he feels badly for NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell.

“There are a handful of players in the league who fall into that category in a large way and Matt Cooke is one of them,” Lindros said. “And you know what the unfortunate part is? When the time comes for him to be a free agent, some general manager will sign him and pay him more than someone who kills penalties or plays on the power play because of his — I can’t really find another word for it — trashy style of play.

“And there’s a large political scene in these situations. Colin Campbell (NHL vice-president and director of hockey operations, who dishes out the suspensions) is in a tough position, but there are a lot of back-door things done. Certain teams get taken care of differently than others, no question.”

It’s a good thing Lindros already wasn’t well liked in Pittsburgh to begin with.

Lindros’ words are damning as his role as a former player who has suffered immensely thanks to blows to the head, most of which occurred before the 2004-2005 lockout that saw the league change the rules to open up the game. Concussions are the talk of the league for a reason, but teams are also more careful with how they treat players and they’ve gotten better at diagnosing these injuries.

With guys like Lindros and Keith Primeau doing their part to speak up on this to put pressure on the league to make changes to protect the players it helps push the case for it. It’s up to the NHLPA and the Board of Governors to things to make the game safer but maintain the level of entertainment and excitement. It’s a delicate balance and it creates difficult problems but it’s something they’ve got to do before more players like Lindros and Primeau and others see their careers cut short.