October 16, 2017
In light of Ken Dryden’s new book, and issues he raises in it regarding current hockey culture, we felt it apropos to reprint this – WHL junior hockey and Kelowna Rockets fans in particular know Draisaitl well. Hit looked bad a few nights ago, worse now.
October 14, 2017
By Bruce McCurdy, Edmonton Journal
The news just keeps on getting worse with respect to the condition of Leon Draisaitl. After a long week (or was it a month?) of Drai-free practices since their last game, a 5-2 loss to Winnipeg Jets, the Edmonton Oilers will finally take to the ice again tonight vs. Ottawa Senators without their #2 offensive weapon. What was dismissed as a “swollen eye” earlier in the week has clearly become a major worry, with coach Todd McLellan uttering the dreaded “C” word in this morning’s game day avail.
“He had an eye injury. Eye was swollen shut, and obviously the eye is attached to the head which leads to concussion-type symptoms now. That’s what we’re dealing with, so he won’t play tonight.”
In a word: egads.
In a paragraph: the term “concussion-type symptoms” comes across as beating around the bush but NHL teams are notoriously reluctant to make direct statements such as “Leon has a concussion”. However carefully they choose their words, it’s enough to set off the alarm bells with any player, let alone one so central to the team as Draisaitl is to the Oilers. The concern is redoubled by its relationship to what was initially diagnosed as an eye injury.
Later in the avail McLellan rather grumpily confirmed what we speculated in this post yesterday, that the injury occurred in a high hit by Jets’ defender Jacob Trouba that knocked Draisaitl to the ice, a rare occurrence in its own right.
The hit occurred at the end of the first period, so if the concussion protocol was followed, it happened during Zamboni time. Draisaitl returned for the final two periods, scored a lovely goal but was otherwise ineffective by his lofty standards.
Revisiting the play:
Trouba leaves his own “zone” on the right side of the ice and catches Draisiaitl cutting into the middle. Trouba’s feet leave the ice as he explodes up and into the hit, and he clearly makes heavy contact with Draisaitl’s noggin with his upper arm & elbow which manage to clear the height of the Oiler’s shoulder pad.
A couple of screen grabs show initial contact and the immediate aftermath of the Oiler’s head snapping back from the blow.
Note the height of Trouba’s skates relative those of Draisaitl and the puck.
No penalty was called on the play, indeed Oilers’ (!) colour man Drew Remenda went out of his way to praise it:
“This is a good hit by Jacob Trouba on Leon Draisaitl. A good pop right up high knocks Leon Draisaitl off his feet.”
A good pop right up high. ‘Nuff said.
I’ll leave the reader to draw your own conclusions as to whether that was a dirty or predatory hit or simply a collision with an unfortunate consequence.
For today at least I don’t want to get into a “should Jacob Trouba be suspended?” tirade, which in one sense is a sidebar to the more important issue, the health of one of Edmonton’s — indeed the NHL’s — rising young stars. Let’s all hope it’s a short term thing.