Concussion spotter couldn't pull Crosby for hitting boards

Ross Houston
May 10, 2017

Afterward, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said his team has been calm since winning Game 3 3-2 in overtime.

You can say what you will for Washington's unwillingness to drop the series in five games or the heart and effort and desire and all the intangibles that went into defeating a team that has done so well to close out games in the final frame, but the truth is we should have been expecting a game like this to come at some point in the series. The Caps gave it all, and while dominating the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 in Game 6 to force a potentially classic Game 7 between two rivals on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., they left us wondering what the Penguins have left. The Capitals controlled play throughout. Additionally, these spotters are not allowed to consider a player's history of concussions when making decisions on whether to pull a player from the game, which seems insane, considering that Crosby suffered his fourth documented concussion just seven days prior to Game 6.

"He's been standing on his head this whole series", said Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky, who scored his first goal of the playoffs Saturday.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan tinkered with his lines after Game 5, reuniting the "HBK" line (Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel) that played an instrumental part in the team's Cup run last spring. "But you cannot predict how long it's going to take to recover from a concussion just because somebody has had a concussion before or just because a concussion that somebody had before has lasted for quite a period of time". NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the AP that hits into the boards are not one of the mechanisms of injury in the concussion protocol, which is why Crosby wasn't removed by league spotters. Crosby took a nasty spill in the first period when he was slammed into the end boards head-first while he tangled with Carlson.

Pittsburgh's first shot in the opening 17 minutes was a 136-foot flip by Brian Dumoulin that made its way to Braden Holtby, who easily stopped it for the first of his 16 saves. With the slogan "Own the big moments" a reminder of how they didn't do so a year ago in their second-round loss to the Penguins, Washington's best players came to play when the moment was its biggest.

The day after failing to close out the Eastern Conference semifinal for the second time, the Pittsburgh Penguins went through an intense, hour-long practice at their facility. After all, in the regular season, few teams were better at sealing the deal when holding a lead after two frames than the Penguins.

Yet instead of simply trying to protect its advantage, Washington kept pressing.

"It turns our mind around", Alex Ovechkin said. Backstrom said the group reset after going down 3-1 in Game 4. "We're going to have to push them out".

"If they go through the protocol then I usually get notified by our medical staff, that's the process", Sullivan said. Chad Ruhwedel filled in. Stick in hand, one of the zombies slashes through a graveyard of tattered headstones inscribed, in order, with the following: Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4. The Penguins were 0 for 3.

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