The Colorado Avalanche, like all NHL teams, know the dangers of concussions like the one Sidney Crosby suffered.
The Colorado Avalanche are no strangers to concussions, unfortunately.
Just last season center Matt Duchene missed a couple games after suffering a concussion at the hands of Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba. (He also chipped Duchene’s tooth and knocked another loose.)
Left wing Gabriel Landeskog suffered a concussion just four games into his captaincy at the hands of forward Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks. He also missed 11 games. He’s a spokesperson for EMPWR about concussion protocols in sports.
Forward Jesse Winchester‘s hockey career was ended because of a freak concussion he suffered in a preseason game against the Calgary Flames.
So, Colorado Avalanche fans know concussions are no joke.
Last night Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby suffered the fourth documented concussion of his NHL career on a really weird play:
Depending on who describes the action, it was either a diabolical, premeditated play designed at taking out the Pens’ star player or a hockey play.
Rob Rossi of Trib Live declared, “The hockey world was damaged Monday night when the only hockey player most Americans know (Sidney Crosby) was driven from hockey’s grandest stage by a crosscheck from Matt Niskanen.”
"“Ovechkin, who can’t beat Crosby on the ice, decided to remove him from it. Makes you wonder what that closed-door meeting called by Capitals players was really about after their blowout defeat in Game 2, huh?”"
(Note: It appears I have been dethroned as Mayor of Crazytown.)
Darren Hartwell of NESN was a little more even keel:
"“Playoff hockey games can be exceptionally brutal, and it appeared Crosby more was caught in the crossfire than intentionally taken out by Washington.”"
Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz had his own take on the hit: “I thought it was really a hockey play.”
He also had a little back and forth with Rossi himself during the post-game presser (2:00 mark):
What I see in the play is Crosby driving the net and Alex Ovechkin backchecking like hell. He gives Crosby a couple whacks with the stick. However, it’s not until Crosby spins around that his left skate gets tangled with Ovechkin’s. To me that contact looks incidental.
To be honest, though, Crosby’s wobble right after looks like one of his infamous dives. (Example video — check out the 1:25 mark for Peter Forsberg’s disgust with Crosby’s dive.) Maybe Crosby legit falling looks the same as his dives.
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What comes next is the clincher, though. Defenseman Matt Niskanen crosschecks him in the head. It’s possible that if Crosby hadn’t been falling the contact wouldn’t have been with his head. However, Crosby is already falling when Niskanen raises his stick.
Niskanen received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. However, the NHL Department of Player Safety isn’t considering supplemental discipline.
I find that strange.
It’s not that the hit was so brutal or even that Sidney Crosby got a concussion. It’s more that the DoPS has ever been preferential in its treatment of certain teams and certain players. The better the team and the better the player, the more likely the DoPS is to swoop in and deliver supplemental discipline.
And Rossi certainly is right about one thing — Crosby is the most famous player and on the reigning Stanley Cup team. It doesn’t get any better than that.
I don’t know if I want to say the DoPS got one right for a change. I think all hits to the head, and certainly ones that result in concussions, should be considered. I actually think the player injuring and the injured shouldn’t be considered. Justice should be blind.
One player hit another player with a crosscheck to the head in what looked like an avoidable play. Said player got a concussion. The NHL Department of Player Safety should demonstrate its commitment to preventing concussions by at least reviewing the play.
I’m guessing Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s been on both sides of the concussion, might agree with me. Judging by his description of going through a concussion in the Players’ Tribune, I suspect sitting out a couple games for a high hit is preferable to going through a concussion.