A former National Hockey League player has been making headlines lately and it sounds like he now fancies himself a long distance doctor.
On Saturday night the Boston Bruins faced off against the Toronto Maple Leafs and although it was a strong outing for the Bruins overall there was a moment towards the end of the game that had fans in Boston deeply concerned. You see star defenseman Charlie McAvoy was playing in his first game back from a pretty significant concussion he had suffered earlier in the season and naturally fans in Boston were very excited to see one of their top players back in the line up. The last thing they wanted to see though was McAvoy get hurt again and unfortunately for Bruins fans there was a moment in the game where they thought their worst fears had become a reality.
That's because late in the game's third period their young star defenseman was shaken up after a huge hit from Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman. The Leafs were already down 4 goals at that point and although the hit from Hyman was a solid body check, one that occurred dangerously close to the end boards and seemed to come too late after the pass, it seemed to me like he may have added a little extra pepper to the hit due to the fact that his team was getting blown out on the evening.
The result was McAvoy falling awkwardly on his back with his head seeming to take some of the impact, and when he was slow to get up I'm sure you could have heard a pin drop across the entire city of Boston. As I stated earlier this was McAvoy playing in his first game back from injury and the thought of losing him to another concussion must have entered the mind of many Bruins' fans. Thankfully McAvoy, although he did leave the game, would come back to the bench which likely means that he cleared the NHL's concussion protocol.
We did hear last night that the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety was reviewing the hit, but thus far have not heard anything regarding potential discipline for Hyman's actions. That being said though there are those who feel that McAvoy should not have even been allowed to set foot on the ice.
"I just saw the McAvoy-Hyman hit," wrote former NHLer Daniel Carcillo. "In my opinion McAvoy was not ready to return. He is a hockey player. A healthy hockey player is aware of his surroundings. His peripherals would b able to recognize danger. Watch him follow his pass. Late or not McAvoy is still suffering from a brain injury."
Now I have no doubt that the Bruins consulted medical professionals several times before making any kind of decision on whether or not McAvoy was ready to play and I also have little doubt that they got the green light to get him back out onto the ice. Carcillo's observations are being made by a former player watching from his television monitor and should be taken with a grain of salt.
Do you agree with Carcillo? Should the Bruins be doing more to protect McAvoy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.