It appears two more NHL stars suffered concussions, but only one team is willing to admit it.
* The Pittsburgh Penguins admitted Monday that star forward Evgeni Malkin suffered a concussion last weekend, coach Dan Bylsma told The Associated Press.
Bylsma said Malkin initially suffered short-term memory loss, but he is improving. Still, Malkin will not join the team when it begins a three-game road swing on Tuesday.
“He’s feeling fine and his memory is returning,” Bylsma said.
* Malkin is not the first Penguins star to suffer a concussion. Sidney Crosby, the league’s best player, missed more than a season with a concussion. He told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review he will talk to Malkin about dealing with the head trauma when the time is right.
Crosby endured a 15-month ordeal with concussion symptoms that robbed him of 102 games. More than two years following the 2011 Winter Classic, when his troubles began, Crosby has become supremely educated regarding concussions, how they develop, how to heal and ultimately how to overcome them.
There once was a time when Crosby didn’t concern himself with the dangers — or ways of prevention — of concussions.
Now, he’s probably as close to being an expert as any NHL player. So, he’ll offer plenty of advice to teammate Evgeni Malkin.
But only when the time is right.
“I just asked him how he’s doing,” Crosby said Sunday. “It would probably give him a headache if I started to explain all the stuff I went through.”
* The New York Rangers seemed evasive about star forward Rick Nash. Their silence about Nash’s absence points to a concussion, according to the New York Daily News.
Rick Nash hasn’t practiced or played in eight days due to an undisclosed injury. He skipped last week’s Rangers road trip to Canada. But his absence from Monday morning’s practice in Greenburgh after a scheduled off-day raised the warning level to code red that his injury could be a concussion and therefore a long-term issue.
The 28-year-old forward is eligible to come off injured reserve for Tuesday’s home game against the Winnipeg Jets, just as fourth-liner Darroll Powe (concussion) did by practicing Monday following a three-game absence. But Nash not only wasn’t on the ice in Greenburgh; he was nowhere in sight.
“I haven’t looked for him today at all,” John Tortorella said when asked whether Nash were around. “I’m focusing on the guys on the ice. I have a lot of guys on the ice.”
* And The Record published an op-ed piece that urged hockey to change its concussion culture, citing Hall of Famer Ken Dryden’s efforts to make players take more precautions with head injuries.
A sticking point remains, however, Dryden says, surrounding how athletes get the concussion story intellectually but struggle to deal appropriately with it when they encounter such an injury up close. Dryden rightly asserts there remains a play-through-it athlete culture that often impairs athletes’ ability to do the right thing when they’re concussed. Likewise, this athlete culture sees teammates somewhat conditioned not to address concussions in their midst in a more healthy manner.
Dryden has said he would like teammate culture in this regard to change in a manner like it has with young adults and drinking-and-driving attitudes. He’s said it would be great to see a “Friends don’t let friends play concussed” slogan and mindset transform this culture. We hope to see such shifts as well.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor