NHL agent Allan Walsh blasted the league Friday over the NHL’s concussion spotter protocol, referring it to a public relations spin to pretend to show the league cares about player safety. The agent, who happens to have Vegas Golden Knights’ goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury as a client, elabortated further in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal’s David Schoen.
“I just want to be very clear,” said Walsh to the RJ the following day. “I am not in any way, what I said yesterday, referencing any specific client or in any way referencing any specific club. It is the league-wide implementation of the concussion spotter protocol that I am criticizing because it is not being applied properly. And, like I said, the way the NHL is allowing players to remain in games is a joke.”
Fleury has been on injured reserve for two weeks already, since Oct. 15, with concussion-related symptoms after he was kneed in the head by Detroit’s Anthony Mantha. Schoen writes that the Golden Knights have said that Fleury passed all the in-game tests, but showed concussion symptoms after the game. Since then, there have been no updates suggesting he may come back soon. Coincidentally, Walsh’s comments on Friday came 30 minutes after Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant announced that Fleury would not accompany the team for the start of their six-game road trip.
The comments from Walsh also might be more relevant after a recent injury to Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who took an inadvertent blow to the head from teammate Derek Forbort. The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell wrote a story last week detailing that teams have too much leverage and power when it comes to determining whether their players should come out for the game, referring to Quick’s experience. He cites that the league representative informed the NHL home office of the injury, but it took three play stoppages before Quick was taken off the ice with 1:14 remaining in the period and went down the tunnel into a quiet room, but returned seconds later and returned to his place in the crease during that same stoppage. However, before play started, he was removed again. This time backup Darcy Kuemper took his place in the net and played for 36 seconds before play was stopped and Quick came back and finished out the period’s final 35 seconds.
Campbell points out that it’s impossible to imagine that he received a proper concussion test in that short of a time. He said that the league felt that the injury was caused from a stick to the head, which only causes one percent of concussion injuries and Quick was therefore cleared quickly, but the scribe points out that the league is playing a dangerous game if they are determining whether players should or shouldn’t receive concussions tests based on replays.