Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sorry, folks, but this concussion thing just isn’t going to go away.
In fact, the story continues to get bigger and bigger. Sooner or later, the pooh-bahs who run major junior and professional hockey are going to outlaw fighting to show they are serious about eliminating concussions from the game.
Maybe it would help if we stopped calling them concussions and started referring to them as brain injuries. . . .
“The numbers are kind of insane — there are currently 25 players out with concussions, or ‘upper body injuries’ that include ‘concussion-like symptoms.’ ”
So begins a story on concussion in the NHL that was posted on Deadspin on Tuesday afternoon.
That complete report is right here.
There also is link there to a CBC report that claims that 88 NHL players missed 1,697 man-games with concussions last season.
There are 30 NHL teams. In the WHL, where there are 22 teams, it is believed that at least 100 players suffered concussions last season.
While the WHL is secretive when in the area of injuries, especially when it comes to concussions, it would appear that the league is headed into that same territory again this season.
The WHL’s last injury report, dated Feb. 25, indicates that 37 players are out with “upper body” injuries. Of those 37, I would suggest that more than 20 are out with concussions or concussion-like symptoms. That injury list doesn’t include players who have suffered concussions this season and are back playing, a number that may be has high as 50. Nor does it include players who haven’t been able to play because of concussions suffered prior to this season.
Jeff Z. Klein of The New York Times weighs in right here on the NHL and its recent wave of brain injuries.
Meanwhile, Eric Russell of the Portland, Me., Press Herald reported on Feb. 16 that “a former University of Maine student-athlete has become the first hockey player to join a class-action lawsuit that claims the National Collegiate Athletic Association has failed to do enough to address and prevent concussions.”
It seems that a lawsuit was filed in September 2011 in Northern Illinois.
Russell’s story is right here. The story details problems encountered by former Maine player Kyle Solomon, as well as three other former NCAA athletes who suffered career-ending concussions.
There has been speculation that D Derrick Pouliot could return to the Portland Winterhawks’ lineup tonight against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. Pouliot, who has been rehabbing a high ankle sprain, originally was injured on Dec. 18. He came back to play four games in January (on the 8th, 9th, 11th and 25th) but hasn’t played since then. . . . Pouliot has been skating for a couple of weeks now and Travis Green, the acting head coach, told Paul Buker of The Oregonian that the defenceman “is close.” . . . Green also said: “I’m not sure if it will be this week, or this weekend. But it’s more day to day now than week to week.” . . . As for Pouliot playing tonight, Green told Buker: “It’s possible, but I don’t suspect he will play.”
What is certain is that Pouliot will play during the playoffs, which makes Portland just that much more formidable.
BCHLThe BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals announced Tuesday that Bob Beatty has signed on as general manager and head coach. Beatty had been with the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves. Beatty will take over the Capitals once their 20012-13 season has ended.

The matchups, if the WHL playoffs opened today:
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Swift Current (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Medicine Hat (6)
Prince Albert (4) vs Red Deer (5)

Portland (1) vs. Everett (8)
Kelowna (2) vs. Seattle (7)
Kamloops (3) vs. Victoria (6)
Tri-City (4) vs. Spokane (5)
In Moose Jaw, F Mike Winther scored twice and the Prince Albert Raiders dumped the Warriors, 4-1. . . . Winther has 21 goals this season. . . . F Mark McNeill added three assists for the winners. . . . Raiders F Dakota Conroy, who had gone 19 games without a goal, opened the scoring with his 19th goal. . . . Raiders G Luke Siemens stopped 41 shots in posting his 32nd victory. Last season, he put up 35 victories for the Warriors. . . . With the victory, the Raiders moved back into a tie for fourth with the Red Deer Rebels in the Eastern Conference. The Raiders hold a game in hand. . . .

In Red Deer, the Saskatoon Blades ran their winning streak to 16 games and clinched a playoff spot with a 4-0 victory over the Rebels. . . . Saskatoon G Andrey Makarov stopped 24 shots as he set a single-season franchise record with his seventh shutout. The previous record had been held by Braden Holtby (2008-09). Holtby, now with the Washington Capitals, also put up a shutout last night, beating the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, 3-0. . . . F Brenden Walker scored twice for the Blades, with F Michael Ferland and F Brett Stovin each drawing two assists. . . . Walker has a career-high 27 goals. . . . Red Deer G Patrik Bartosak turned aside 42 shots. . . . The Rebels had won the first three games of the season series from the Blades, outscoring them 11-4. . . . The Blades remain atop the East Division, seven points ahead of Prince Albert. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Henrik Samuelsson and F Michael St. Croix each had a goal and two assists as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Seattle Thunderbirds (of Kent), 6-2. . . . The Oil Kings had lost their previous three games, including two on this U.S. Division swing. . . . Edmonton is to meet the Winterhawks in Portland tonight. The Oil Kings beat Portland in seven games in last springs championship final. . . . Samuelsson and St. Croix each has 32 goals. . . . Edmonton F T.J. Foster scored his 26th goal of the season. It was his 100th career goal and 250th career point. . . . Edmonton F Curtis Lazar scored his 34th goal. . . . Oil Kings G Laurent Brossoit picked up his fourth assist this season, breaking the franchise’s single-season record that he set last season. . . . Seattle F Alex Delnov scored his 20th goal. . . . Edmonton was 3-for-3 on the PP. . . . The Oil Kings moved back into second in the overall standings a point ahead of the idle Kelowna Rockets. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Portland Winterhawks, 4-2. . . . Tri-City F Parker Bowles tied the game 2-2 with his 20th goal at 17:55 of the second period. . . . The Americans report that Bowles, 17, who has 20 goals, is the “youngest Americans rookie to reach 20 goals in a season.” F Jaroslav Kristek was an 18-year-old rookie when he scored 20 goals in 1997-98. . . . Tri-City F Connor Rankin snapped the tie with his 24th at 6:42 of the third. . . . F Beau McCue had two assists for the winners. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie scored his 40th goal. He is the sixth WHLer to reach 40 this season. . . . Portland D Shaun McPherson opened the scoring with his fourth goal. He turned 19 yesterday. . . . Tri-City F Justin Feser scored his 39th goal of the season — and the 150th of his career — in his 311th consecutive game. That ties the WHL record held by D Dwayne Newman (Brandon, Victoria, 1987-92). . . . Tri-City G Troy Trombley continued his terrific run. He made 37 saves in his sixth straight start — he is 6-0-0. He now has beaten the Winerhawks twice, having turned aside 41 shots in a 6-2 victory in Portland on Feb. 15. . . . The Winterhawks had won five in a row. . . . The Americans, who have won six in a row, have three victories over Portland this season. . . . Tri-City is fourth in the Western Conference, now with a three-point edge over the idle Spokane Chiefs. Each team has 10 games remaining.
F Matej Stransky, Saskatoon
D David Musil, Edmonton


 From Moose Jaw Warriors F Josh Uhrich (@96uhrich): “Feeling sorry for all the girls in Saskatoon having to deal with all the boys getting their hair done for playoffs”

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