I Don't Know What The Concussion Spotter Was Doing When Sidney Crosby Got Buckled, But It Wasn't His Job
Is it more egregious to genuinely not care about the health of your players, or to disingenuously take the necessary steps just to make it look like you do? I can't help but think that it's worse to employ neurological professionals as nothing more than a precautionary facade than it is to not employ neurological professionals at all. It's a poorly kept secret that the NHL's concern with debilitating head injuries directly correlates with their concern for covering their own ass, but when situations like last night go unchecked it becomes readily apparent that their front is as transparent as whatever the fuck is protruding from Donald Trump's scalp. I don't think I ask for too much in terms of tending to the willing participants in an inherently violent sport. However, if you're going to institute a concussion protocol then the least you could do is make sure the best player in the world goes through it when he - almost literally - flies face first into the boards less than a week after suffering a potentially severe concussion. I don't need Gary Bettman and Co. to truly prioritize the well being of the talent that fattens their pockets, but I would appreciate it if they did a better job pretending it's at least slightly more important than counting their money.
Now, I certainly don't envy the job of a concussion spotter. I wouldn't want to leave a cushy seat in a luxury suite to pull one of the most competitive athletes in the world from the ice during an elimination game like he's a child who was caught out past curfew.. That said, they might as well receive their severance packages now, because if you don't so much as ask Sidney Crosby if he knows where he is after that hit then you can no longer justify interfering in any game from here on out. I don't care if someone gets tombstone pile-drived during Game 7 and is hopelessly meandering in a circle like he just finished his turn at the plate during 'Dizzy Bat'. The precedent has been set, and that precedent is that the NHL playoffs are apparently too important for prudent medical procedures. I would think valuing the long term availability of one of the most must-watch players in the entire league over his presence on the ice during a couple of shifts in Game 6 would be a wise business decision. Then again, the NHL makes the wise business decision about as often as the average hockey player voluntarily leaves the ice during the postseason.
UPDATE: Only read this "explanation" (aka justification aka rationalization aka excuse bka complete bullshit) if you are prepared to come away from it slightly dumber...
USA Today - Concussion spotters didn’t have the authority to pull Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby from Game 6 on Monday because his head-first collision with the boards is not a “mechanism of injury” that allows that under their guidelines.
Under the current concussion policy, the league’s central concussion spotter only would have been able to force Crosby out had his head hit the ice or another player.
“Depending on the mechanism of injury, ‘slow to get up’ does not trigger mandatory removal,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told USA TODAY Sports. “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.”