Connor McDavid Was Probably Right To Be Upset That He Was Called Off The Ice To Undergo Concussion Testing
SportsNet- “I was pretty shocked, to be honest,” McDavid said after his Oilers dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to Minnesota, McDavid’s second straight pointless game. “I hit my mouth on the ice. You reach up and grab your mouth when you get hit in the mouth; it’s a pretty normal thing. Obviously the spotter thought he knew how I was feeling. He pulled me off.
“A [crappy] time of the game too. We had a bit of a partial five-on-three and then a power play late in the second game that if we had capitalized on that, it could have changed the game.”
Look, for the first time in a long time (forever) the NHL is taking head injuries seriously. I don't think you need to look further than their decision to yank the sport's youngest, brightest star from a close game at a time when he could have potentially made his biggest impact. If that doesn't speak to them prioritizing the health of their players over the merit of their product than nothing does. That's why I don't want to say they did a bad job by trying to do what they thought was right for a 19 year old kid who is far more valuable to them on the ice than he is undergoing concussion testing in the trainer's room, buttttt they kind of did a bad job here.
I know that I'm no doctor, but I'm starting to think that the concussion spotter doesn't exactly have a PhD. in concussion spotting either. There was nothing about that sequence that made me think that Connor McDavid's cranium was compromised. I get that they are trying to make up for the decades of letting their athletes play one of the most physically taxing sports on the planet while one run-in with a screen door away from permanent brain damage, but is it too much to ask of them to spot one symptom before doing so? Players are never going to want to come out of the game and they'll always have some justification of why they should have been able to stay in, but McDavid's made a lot more sense than most. You whack your teeth and you're going to check to make sure they are all there. Seems pretty obvious. The kid looked completely coherent as he didn't spend anymore time getting up than any other player that's ever gotten tripped so I don't see why he had to land himself in concussion protocol. I understand that it's better safe than sorry, but sentencing a player to a 20 minute, mid-game mental health inspection for simply checking for blood is setting an overly cautious precedent going forward. That's not necessarily a bad thing now, but I think hockey fans, players, and coaches might be singing a different tune come playoff time.