This was the third friendly fire hit that resulted in a concussion to one of the league's best players in a week. Earlier in the week Sidney Crosby collided with his teammate Chris Kunitz, and now he is out indefinitely with concussion like symptoms.
Then it was Philadelphia Flyer Claude Giroux, the NHL leading point scorer (39 points) who took a knee to the back of the head by fellow teammate Wayne Simmonds. This ultimately resulted in Giroux suffering his first concussion of his career.
Also the Carolina Hurricanes have announced today that their leading scorer Jeff Skinner and top defenseman Joni Pitkanen are also out indefinitely with concussions. Skinner has sat out the last 2 games while Pitkanen the last 3 before both were diagnosed with a concussion today.
The Hurricanes aren't the only team suffering from multiple concussions. The Penguins have 4 players currently suffering from concussion (Crobsy, Kris Letang, Zbynek Michalek, and Robert Bortuzzo) while the Flyers have 3 (Giroux, Brayden Schenn, and Chris Pronger).
Chris Pronger's injury was originally thought to have occurred when he took a stick to the face, however he played 5 games after that. At least one local reported pointed out that a hit he took in the Phoenix game 2 days before he started missing time might be the source.
Other big names who are still suffering from a concussion are St. Louis Blues center Andy McDonald, New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, Boston forward Marc Savard, and Los Angeles center Mike Richards.
According to USA Today's 'NHL concussion tracker' there are currently 21 players who are out of action suffering from a concussion (or concussion-like symptoms) sustained this year or last year (Marc Savard and Marc Staal are still out from hits taken last season). And at least 40 players have missed at least 1 game this year due to a concussion.
Why so many?
Doctors have learned so much about the head more recently that they are much better at diagnosing a concussion than they have been several years ago.
So how does the league prevent them?
Brendan Shanahan, the new NHL disciplinarian, has been very strict on head shots in order to diminish the number of concussions every year. However, not all incidences can be prevented (see Crosby, Giroux and Michalek).
So what does the NHL due now?
One answer is better equipment (something the NHL has been and should continue to improve).
So all that's left is the team's responsibility to keep the players safe after the hit and not rush them back. Think of NFL's Colt McCoy for how NOT to handle it!
But the NHL is always going to be a fast pace game and thus accidents and concussions are going to happen.
What would you do to further help the league in a prevention method?
(Thanks to the Ottawa Associated Press, Frank Seravalli for the Pronger hit, the NHL, and USA Today)