NHL Ripped For Ignoring Seemingly Obvious Concussion Stemming From Brutal Alexander Ovechkin Check

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Hockey is one of the many contact sports that require players to constantly keep their heads on a swivel to avoid succumbing to the fairly brutal nature of the game they play. Unfortunately, when you’re in the NHL, injuries tend to be a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.”

While hockey players are known for being a notoriously tough breed of athletes with a tendency to play through some gnarly injuries, there are certain setbacks that can’t really be ignored if you care about your longevity. As most people likely know by now, that includes the concussions that the league has at least pretended it’s started to take seriously in recent years.

The NHL currently has a fairly rigid concussion protocol in place and has employed spotters with the authority to remove a player from a game since 2016. However, it’s safe to say the current approach leaves plenty to be desired based on what unfolded during Monday’s tilt between the Islanders and the Capitals.

In the second period of the contest, New York center Jean-Gabriel Pageau became the latest hockey player to learn why you want to avoid being on the receiving end of a check delivered by Alexander Ovechkin after the Capitals star unleashed a massive hit against the boards.

Ovechkin was initially slapped with a charging penalty on the play, but it was rescinded after the officiating crew took a second look at what appeared to be a fairly textbook hockey hit. While he didn’t miss a shift, the same can’t be said for Pageau, who needed a trainer to help him into the locker room but managed to return to the ice before the end of the period.

However, plenty of people have questioned the decision to clear Pageau to play based on a video where he exhibited one of the trademark symptoms of a concussion when he attempted to return to his feet following the check. That includes Dr. Chris Nowinski, who serves as the CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation and urged the league to revisit its policy in the wake of the incident.

Other fans echoed that sentiment after taking a look at the play in question.

While Pageau may have checked the requisite boxes with the medical team tasked with giving him the green light, the fact that they declined to err on the side of caution would appear to suggest the NHL has plenty of work to do in this particular realm.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.