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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Clutterbuck out with injury related to Gillies hit

star-tribune.com

<<Clutterbuck out with "upper body" injury stemming from Gillies hit

Last update: March 6, 2011 - 12:05 PM

 

Cal Clutterbuck will miss today's 5 p.m. game against the Buffalo Sabres with an "upper body" injury stemming from the hit he took from Islanders forward Trevor Gillies, assistant coach Dave Barr said this morning.

 

Gillies received a 10-game suspension for the direct shot to Clutterbuck's head with his left glove.

 

Clutterbuck wasn't at the rink this morning and didn't practice yesterday. He's considered day-to-day. He did play the next night against the New York Rangers, but as I wrote in that next day's paper, he didn't sound convinced he was unhurt.

 

A passage from my story: "What if for some reason in a couple days I get symptoms and I have to miss time where it's really important for our team?"

Clutterbuck said he didn't "feel 100 percent after [Wednesday's game], but it could have been a whole combination of things. I mean, I got hit pretty hard. I didn't really expect to feel normal."

 

He still didn't sound fully convinced he didn't have a concussion. After all, symptoms often arise well afterward, as evidenced by Antti Miettinen earlier this season after being hit by Los Angeles' Dustin Brown.

 

"Let's hope I've got a good chin," Clutterbuck said.

 

Nobody's calling it a head injury. They're calling it "upper body" right now. I'm told by people that he's not feeling well right now. The second the magic word of "concussion" is used, a week must be missed -- hence the cautious verbiage coming from inside the team right now, in my opinion.

 

This is why I cringed when in the NHL's press release of the Gillies' suspension, Colin Campbell said, this: "While it is fortunate there was no injury on the play, there can be no justification for a player delivering a dangerous check to an opponent in this manner."

 

While I'm not sure Campbell increases the number of games if he had known there was an injury, Campbell's got to stop determining suspensions for head hits based on the immediate knowledge if there's a head injury.

 

There have been scores of instances where symptoms of a head injury arose well after the hit. Sidney Crosby is the most notable example. David Perron continued in the game where Joe Thornton rang his bell. He hasn't played since. From a local example, Antti Miettinen finished the game Dustin Brown hit his head. He missed the next five games with a concussion.

 

An injury should not play a part in determining the length of a suspension. If you're serious about eliminating blows to the head, eliminate em by handing out long suspensions whether the guy doesn't miss a shift, plays the next game, whatever. A head shot is a head shot.

 

There are so many factors in determining whether or not a player gets concussed. Heck, who would have thought that harmless-looking graze in Toronto would have caused Justin Morneau to miss so much time? You just don't know with the brain.

 

Again, nobody from the Wild is saying it's a head injury. I want to make that clear. But they have confirmed the upper body injury he'll miss tonight's game with is from the Gillies' hit.

 

By the way, hopefully Don Cherry and Ron MacLean and the good folks at CBC apologize wholeheartedly to Clutterbuck next week for saying there was no injury and no head shot in this Coach's Corner segment from last night (start at 4:12). Nevermind there was no puck. Nevermind it was well after the whistle for the original Clutterbuck boarding penalty.

 

It's an absolute travesty that in the vast archives of Hockey Night in Canada, nobody could find this angle (start at 1:00) that clearly shows a direct blow to Clutterbuck's head. At least in the angle CBC chose to use, it clearly shows Clutterbuck trying to hold up his check after the kid he hit suddenly lost the puck and turned his back to Clutterbuck to face the glass and fish for the puck. It's up to Clutterbuck to not hit a vulnerable player, but the onus should be on players to not put themselves in suddenly vulnerable positions, too.

 
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Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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