March 18, 2018

The Penguins, NHL can't get story straight on Sidney Crosby

20 May 2017, 11:52 | Joan Schultz

The Capitals controlled play from the start, as they have for most of this series, but instead of the Penguins counterpunching, it never came.

After the thriller 2-4 win in the game 5 Saturday night, Washington Capitals lock horns with Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL Stanley Cup Round 2, Game 6 tonight. The Penguins have outscored the Capitals 12-3 in winning the previous three Game 7s.

After losing game 4 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, many people wrote off the Washington Capitals.

Crosby played in Game 6 of a second-round matchup with the Washington Capitals on Monday and colliding head-first with the boards behind the Washington net in the first period.

But even though it was obvious Crosby should have been tested, there was nothing National Hockey League concussion spotters could have done about it. Crosby has had four documented concussions. It's also the last time Washington advanced past the second round of the playoffs. Crawford came up woozy and clearly needed to undergo post-concussion protocol, but he stayed in the game after a brief check from a trainer.

With nearly the entire team back from last year's Stanley Cup run, the Penguins have plenty of experience to draw on, especially when it comes to playing with their backs against the wall.

By Tuesday the reunion was already in the rearview mirror, with all three players on separate lines during a brief by spirited practice. Concussions and their long-term implications are among the hottest-button issues in sports. He took a nasty spill in the first period when he was slammed into the end boards head-first while he tangled with Carlson. But he did not enter the NHL's concussion evaluation and management protocol.

The Capitals have spent the better part of the season insisting this time, things will be different.

After, the period ended, Crosby was evaluated for a concussion - if you believe him. He reported no symptoms. "Yep", Crosby said. "Yeah".

The protocol requires mandatory removal - and it's actually in bold and underlined typeface - should a player report any one of a series of symptoms, including a headache or dizziness or nausea or disorientation.

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The NHL uses spotters from its office for when players should be checked. "Motor incoordination/balance problems", in which the spotter must identify the player stumbling or staggering or having trouble skating.

The fourth is a player exhibiting a "blank or vacant look".

Chris Nowinski, co-founder and executive director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, thought Crosby's head hit the ice and boards, and that it would be hard for a spotter to differentiate between one or the other.

Sidney Crosby fell headlong into the boards during Game 6. So, yeah, Crosby was slow to get up.

The wording, of course, prevents the league from making false correlations between a collision with the boards and a concussion without proper evidence. That's a blink of the eye in your day.

Crosby, who sat out a game to recover from his most recent concussion, was agonizingly slow to get up.

"Exceptions:" the policy continues. "And so you shouldn't restrict your spotters".

This place, now called PPG Paints Arena, fell silent for long stretches Monday night, and look who hit the mute button with authority.

But there's a flaw here, at least one. He played in Game 5, and did not appear to be missing anything from his game or showing any signs of distress. The impact could be on Crosby's future - and not on the ice.

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