Concussions continue to ravage the NHL as another three players were announced to be suffering from concussions or concussion-like symptoms today.
Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber and Los Angeles Kings forward Simon Gagne will both sit after being diagnosed with concussions while Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman John-Michael Liles was placed on the IR with concussion-like symptoms.
It’s unsure how long any of these players will be sidelined, although in every situation the team and players are hopeful that it won’t be for a significant amount of time.
Weber will likely be the biggest loss of the three. Not only is he team captain, but he also leads the Predators in points with 29 in 35 games to go along with his team-leading plus-14 rating.
“There’s no official timetable for his return, but he’s feeling better and I’m hoping there’s a chance for him to return Friday,” head coach BarryTrotz said. “But we’ll see.”
Weber apparently suffered his concussion after taking a hard hit from Mark Fistric this past Friday when the Predators took on the Dallas Stars. Weber appeared fine after the game but left practice early on Monday and missed Nashville’s game against the Red Wings Monday night. The team confirmed today that Weber was suffering from a concussion and will be monitored on a daily basis.
Similarly, Liles suffered his injury after a big hit from Buffalo’s Paul Gaustad last Thursday. After visiting the dressing room following the hit, Liles returned to finish the game but missed the following contest on Friday against the New York Islanders. The Leafs placed Liles on injured reserve after he was unable to skate with the team on Monday or Tuesday at practice.
“We’re shutting him down for a few days,” said Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson. “He was better today, but not ready to go and if we run into a crisis we’ve gotta have another defenceman available – in case of illness or another injury.
Liles has been one of Toronto’s most consistent defenseman with seven goals and 17 assists in 34 games this season. He has averaged more than 21 minutes of ice time per game.
Simon Gagne was injured during the first period of the Kings victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night. Gagne left the ice during the first period and returned in the second, but he ultimately left the game during the third period and did not return. While the team referred to the injury as an “upper-body” injury, TSN.ca has reported that Gagne indeed suffered a concussion.
Weber, Liles and Gagne are just the latest in a string of concussions to hit the NHL recently. Sidney Crosby is back on the shelf with concussion-like symptoms with no time-table for a return while Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux recently returned from a four-game absence thanks to a concussion sustained on Dec. 10 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It was also reported today that New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal has been cleared to practice with contact nearly 10 months after being sidelined by a hit delivered by his brother Eric of the Carolina Hurricanes. This is a positive step in Staal’s recover, although a timetable for his return is still up in the air.