Carolina Hurricanes and the Ottawa Senators are the latest teams to drop bombshells on the fans. The Hockey world went into mourning with the news of Crosby. The already teary eyed fans received another jolt when the indefinite layout of Giroux was announced. We hardly had time to think straight at this moment when the news of Jeff Skinner and Joni Pitkanen aired. And if this wasn’t enough, Milan Michalek is now also sidelined with a concussion. Superstar after superstar is falling victim to concussions and the worst part about it is the fact that all these concussions are indefinite ones. No one really knows when the players are going to be back on the field.
This has been one of the most terrible weeks in the history of the NHL. Giroux, Michalek and Crosby were at the wrong end of luck and Skinner was on the end of a legal and clean check albeit a hard one. The league is no doubt going to suffer from the loss of these superstars. It is one thing to lose them to injury and it’s another thing to lose them for an indefinite period which, for all we know, may even stretch to a year.
USA Today confirmed the concussion of Michalek: “One day after points leader Claude Giroux of the Philiadelphia Flyers was proclaimed out indefinitely, Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean told reporters Wednesday that Milan Michalek has a concussion. Michalek had scored his league best 19th goal in the 3-2 overtime win against the Buffalo Sabres but was involved in a collision with defenseman Erik Karlsson and left the game. MacLean said that Michalek was day-to-day. He’ll have to follow the concussion protocol and be symptom free in every stage of his recovery. “It seems like he felt way better today, so we’ll where it goes,” MacLean said.”
Some of these concussions have been the result of accidental collisions with teammates. Whatever the case, the NHL is having the worst season in terms of injuries this year and it needs to turn the situation around. Whether its lighter equipment, reinforcement of the helmets and padding or any other solution, it needs to happen and needs to happen quickly. The last thing any of us would want is more playing entering the treatment room.
I am not writing this to criticize the NHL or anything. What you see here is genuine concern. I was watching a video of Lindros last night and what he went through after the check by Scott Stevens was pretty brutal. No one wants a player to go through that feeling, not even a rival player. We need to unite and force the issue here. We need a quick solution before any more players suffer.