Sidney Crosby Not Evaluated for Concussion After Crashing Headfirst into Boards

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) sits on the bench with head coach Mike Sullivan behind him during the third period of Game 6 in an NHL Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinal hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Pittsburgh, Monday, May 8, 2017. The Capitals won 5-2 to force a Game 7. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said Sidney Crosby was not evaluated for a concussion after crashing into the boards headfirst during Monday night's 5-2 Game 6 loss against the Washington Capitals at PPG Paints Arena, per Hemal Jhaveri of For The Win.

You can see Sullivan's full comments below:

Josh Clipperton of the Canadian Press was shocked that Crosby didn't miss so much as a shift:

Crosby, however, said he simply had the wind knocked out of him and that he had been evaluated, calling it "pretty standard stuff," per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Crosby once again made that assertion, telling reporters that a doctor evaluated him after the first period and decided he didn't need to be put into the concussion protocol.

Kevin Allen of USA Today noted Crosby was on the ice for Tuesday's practice after the incident. 

The concern with Crosby comes from the fact he has a long history with concussions and suffered one during Game 3 against the Capitals, which forced him to miss Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal.

On Monday night, Crosby was slow to get off the ice after the hit, leading many to believe he perhaps suffered another head injury. But concussion spotters didn't pull him off the ice because of a guideline in the NHL's concussion protocol.                 

"Depending on the mechanism of injury, 'slow to get up' does not trigger mandatory removal," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told A.J. Perez and Kevin Allen of USA Today. "The protocol has to be interpreted literally to mandate a removal. 'Ice' as compared to 'boards' is in there for a reason. It’s the result of a study on our actual experiences over a number of years. 'Ice' has been found to be a predictor of concussions—'boards' has not been."

In other words, because Crosby's head didn't hit the ice or another player, concussion spotters weren't allowed to pull him from the game to examine him.

Given Crosby's long history of concussions, however, it's surprising the NHL doesn't have a provision that takes into account a player's medical background.

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