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Making sense of the Sidney Crosby concussion saga

Making sense of the Sidney Crosby concussion saga

The Sidney Crosby concussion saga has taken another turn and it’s getting hard to figure out just what is going on.

In the first period of Game 6, Crosby inadvertently tripped over Braden Holtby’s stick and fell headfirst into the boards. He was slow to get up before making his way back to the bench. It was a scary moment considering it came just one week after suffering a concussion in Game 3.

Crosby, however, did not come out of the game and finished the period. After the game, it was clear that not everyone within the Penguins organization was on the same page.

When asked if he was evaluated after the fall into the boards, Crosby said, “Yep. Yeah. Pretty standard.”

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During the postgame press conference, head coach Mike Sullivan was asked if he was concerned when he saw that Crosby was slow to get up and if he was evaluated for a concussion during the first intermission.

Sullivan’s answer was, “No.”

If Sullivan is correct and Crosby was not evaluated, why not? Isn’t it at least worth checking over a player who has a history of concussions and suffered one just last week to make sure he’s ok? If Crosby was examined during the intermission, why did he continue playing out the first period? Either someone needs to be checked or they don’t, the whole point is to prevent someone from continuing to play in case they have suffered a concussion.

When Crosby initially suffered the hit, it was wondered why the NHL's independent concussion spotters did not immediately pull Crosby from the game. We now have an answer to that question, but it’s not a very satisfying one.

Concussion spotters did not have the authority to pull Crosby from the game because a head collision with the boards does not qualify as a “mechanism of injury” under the current guidelines that allows for a player’s removal, according to a report from USA Today.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly offered an explanation as to why.

 “Depending on the mechanism of injury, ‘slow to get up’ does not trigger mandatory removal,” Daly said, via USA Today’s report. “The protocol has to be interpreted literally to mandate a removal. ‘Ice’ as compared to ‘boards’ is in there for a reason. It’s the result of a study on our actual experiences over a number of years. ‘Ice’ has been found to be a predictor of concussions -- ‘boards’ has not been.”

Daly also revealed that concussion spotters do not take a player’s concussion history into account when making their determinations.

So to recap: 

— A NHL player with a history of concussions suffered a concussion in Game 3.

— He was cleared to play in Game 5 but in Game 6, just one week after his most recent concussion, he fell headfirst into the boards and was slow to get up.

— He was not pulled from the game because the NHL’s spotters don’t have that authority when a player’s head hits the boards.

— He also may or may not have been checked for a concussion during the intermission.

Got it?

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Capitals Prospect Report: Connor McMichael is on pace for a special season

Capitals Prospect Report: Connor McMichael is on pace for a special season

Guys, we need to talk about Connor McMichael.

First off, he had another ridiculous week:

  • On Thursday, Nov. 7 he scored a goal for Team OHL in the Canada-Russia Series in a 4-1 win for the OHL.
  • On Friday, Nov. 8 he scored one goal and three assists in a 4-3 win for London over North Bay. He was named the first star of the game.
  • On Saturday, Nov. 9 he scored one goal and two assists in a 4-2 win for London over Owen Sound. He was again named the first star of the game.
  • On Monday, Nov. 11 he scored a goal in the OHL's second game in the Canada-Russia Series, this time in a losing effort to Russia.

What we really need to talk about is how absurdly McMichael is dominating the OHL. He currently leads the league in points with 41. Arthur Kaliyev and Quinton Byfield are right behind him at 39 points, but both players have played in 21 games. McMichael has played in just 16. Of those 16 games, he has been held off the scoresheet in only one of them. He has registered 19 goals and 22 assists. In 2006-07, Patrick Kane recorded an incredible 62-goal, 145-point season. Through the first 16 games of that season, per The London Free Press, Kane had scored five fewer goals and had seven fewer points.

That's right, McMichael has compiled 41 points in just 16 games. That is a rate of 2.56 points per game. According to McKeen Hockey, that is the second-highest rate of points per game in the OHL among U19 players of all-time, second only to Eric Lindros.

It is still early in the season and that is one heck of a pace he's producing at, but we could be looking at a very special season for him.  That of course begs the question, just how good could this guy be in the NHL?

Other prospect notes

  • Aliaksei Protas sits tied for the WHL lead in points with 30. Earlier in the week he was in sole possession of the league lead meaning that Caps prospects were simultaneously leading both the OHL and WHL in points.
  • Riley Sutter was officially reassigned to Hershey over the week. Because he was injured before the season, he was still technically with the Caps on non-roster season-opening injured reserve. He had been sent to Hershey several weeks ago along with Kody Clark to continue training there, but could not officially be sent to the AHL until he was medically cleared.
  • Nova Caps spoke with Martin Fehervary about his first season in North America. “The hockey in Sweden compared to North America, the style is very similar," he said. "It’s fast hockey, they skate really well so its fast hockey. It’s kind of the same, I would say here it’s a little bit faster but the adjustment was kind of easy so far.” You can read the full article here.
  • Pheonix Copley accomplished a rare feat on Wednesday as he recorded a shutout in a loss. Hershey lost 1-0 in a shootout to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Copley saved all 29 shots he faced in the game to record the shutout, but the Bears ultimately lost in the shootout so he collected the "L" as well.
  • Mitchell Gibson made his collegiate debut on Friday for Harvard. He started against Princeton and stopped all 31 shots he faced for the shutout win. He was given the start again on the following day against Quinnipiac and again had a strong showing with 32 saves on 34 shots in the 7-2 win.
  • Mike Sgarbossa had one of the highlights of the week with his shootout goal against Lehigh Valley.

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Todd Reirden brings champs in locker room to keep Capitals motivated

Todd Reirden brings champs in locker room to keep Capitals motivated

They say D.C. is the new title town, and Washington's head coach Todd Reirden is looking to capitalize on that momentum by keeping that energy around his team the best way he knows how: hearing straight from the champs themselves.

On the Junkies, Reirden recounted bringing in Mystics' star forward Elena Delle Donne and Nationals' outfielder Adam Eaton, saying he invited them to remind the 2018 Stanley Cup champions "what it feels like [to win], have people that win championships and especially fellow athletes that are right in the D.C. area."

"I think that's something that kind of got the fire burning a little bit, and it has been burning, to be 100% truthful, since we lost last year," Reirden said.

The Capitals lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in a seven-game first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs that ended in double-overtime.

Washington sits atop the National Hockey League, leading everyone by at least five points -- Washington has 32 points through 20 games, while the second-place Islanders have 27 points through 17 games.

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