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Pens, Caps gear up for Game 7

16 Mai 2017

It outlines educational videos and literature, mandates baseline testing and provides for the implementation of "spotters" at each game, the judge and jury as to when players should be removed from the ice - because over time, neither clubs nor players have shown enough responsibility in the moment to prioritize players' safety.

"I think we were probably guilty of making a few mistakes early on and then probably chasing our mistakes after that", said Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, who had an assist in 20 minutes but was largely a nonfactor in his second game back after missing Game 4 with a concussion.

"I think what you're talking about is the difference between checking with a doctor and entering the concussion protocol", Crosby told reporters at Penguins' practice Tuesday.

Crosby, however, said he simply had the wind knocked out of him and that he had been evaluated, calling it "pretty standard stuff", per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. But Crosby and coach Mike Sullivan said he was checked by a doctor and not put into the NHLs concussion protocol. That's an excuse, and a weak one, for an issue that's going to continue having a major impact on NHL's business, not only in terms of losing big names to injury, but the ongoing optics of saying things like hitting your head on one surface is better than another.

That would appear to match the "slow to get up" criterion in the league's list.

The first is if a player exhibits one or more of nine listed symptoms, including disorientation, after a direct or indirect blow to the head. But that amount of time when play is still going on is the equivalent to an eternity. Crosby was clearly stunned and made his way up to his feet and off the ice very slowly.

Crosby had gotten tangled up with Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and Capitals defenseman John Carlson, and ended up - through no fault of the Capitals players - colliding with the boards and then taking a while to get back up.

The Caps have thrived on adversity throughout the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs, and they've played some of their best hockey of the postseason in these last two games while their backs were to the wall and they were staring down the prospect of elimination. First period is really important. A soft goal after several games of phenomenal play from Fleury seemed to deflate both him and his teammates, and Washington carried play for the remainder of the second.

Now, not only do the Washington Capitals have the momentum, but they also have the advantage of home ice for Wednesday's Game 7.

Many among us filled the wait thinking about the worst possible outcomes: What's life like if it's really bad news? The protocol is right there in black and white.

If that evaluation happened, it didn't take place immediately. First, there's business to take care of in NY. The NHL did this because players are obstinate and stubborn and singularly focused on playing the game. As soon as they start to trail, their shot selection deteriorates as they start firing the puck on net from everywhere as opposed to setting up better opportunities.

Even if the instated guidelines didn't make it mandatory, Crosby still should have been pulled. It was supposed to take team personnel off the hook. On the bench he was in obvious distress and the PPG Paints Arena turned into the world's largest waiting room, 18,000-plus waiting to see if Crosby would take that long walk down to the dressing room for examination by the medical staff. And all of that is completely understandable under the circumstances. It's not fair to them.

Pens, Caps gear up for Game 7