Concern about concussions in American sports has become a significant issue. Football and the NFL have been the primary battleground for this, because the NFL is the nation’s most powerful and lucrative sports enterprise. Hockey and the NHL, though, will not be able to continue ignoring its problem in this area forever: The longer it delays meaningful action, the greater the cost may become.
Suspending Wingels might not have meant a lot to the result of the Pittsburgh-Ottawa series. Wingels’ zero points and zero assists in these playoffs would appear to be easily replaced. That’s one reason players such as Wingels do these sorts of things: This way, they can contend they matter.
The biggest reason, though, is there is no consequence to such an action. Even if the officials had called a penalty, there would have been no power play that mattered. The punishment had to come from Player Safety, but that office has demonstrated one thing definitively: It cares little about either.
Niskanen was assessed a five-minute major and ejected for the cross-check.
Conor Sheary, one of Crosby’s wingers on the top line, also exited the game in the second period and did not return.
Afterward, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan deferred any update on his injury players’ health to Tuesday pending overnight evaluation. He told reporters I’d rather not share my opinion when asked about Niskanen’s hit and whether it should draw a suspension from the NHL.
Crosby was not made available to media, but a Pittsburgh radio host tweeted during the third period that Crosby was seen in a suit walking briskly with no sign of a limp.
Crosby just walked by me in the arena. Full suit. Winked at a worker and appeared to say im ok. Walking briskly. No sign of a limp.