Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. The hard, yet correct, decision has been made.
Off puck drop, this will just be a quick-hitter due to the breaking news of the day.
As noted late Saturday night, I’ll return sometime next week with something deeper.
However, and in case you missed it, here is last night’s Rangers vs Senators GAME REVIEW – and the final Blueshirts’ game for the next eight days:
When it comes to the topic of Filip Chytil and his many concussions – what else can I say on this site that I haven’t said before?
In other words, check the archives of this site for all of it – as there’s no need to rewrite all of it again.
Following his most recent setback from this past Friday morning, come Sunday, some fifty-hours later, the Rangers made it official – Chytil is done for the season.
Here’s the organization’s statement:
While I obviously 100%, and without a shadow of a doubt, agree with the decision to shutdown Chytil (as said numerous times before – no one wants to see him as a vegetable by the time he hits 25-years-old) – I also thought it was tacky, irresponsible and a flat-out disservice to omit the “c-word,” as in concussion, when talking about what’s officially being described as an “upper-body injury.”
I know that I have explained all of this in the past, but here’s a new wrinkle:
I just look at the tragic death of Adam Johnson, the former NHLer who died this past October, after having his neck lacerated by an opposing player’s skate.
Just three months after this horrific event – and we’re already seeing positive change – as many NHLers across the league are now wearing neck guards – and where just today – USA Hockey announced that neck protection will now be mandatory for any youth player (under 18-years-old) who participates in their programs:
The USA Hockey Congress today approved legislation requiring the use of neck laceration protection.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) January 28, 2024
I know what you might say – Johnson’s death was a freak accident and you can’t compare concussions to death.
I get that.
But stick with me.
How many contact sport athletes have there been, and whether they be football players, pro wrestlers, or in this case, hockey players too, who have had their lives absolutely ruined by concussions, and after that, CTE?
While doctors still can’t diagnose CTE in the living just yet (but many advances are being made) – there have been many pro athletes, in retirement, to either find themselves broke, confused, committing crimes because they aren’t thinking straight and worse above all – suicide/death.
(Chris Benoit, the former wrestler, who had one of the worst cases of CTE ever seen during his autopsy which was performed after his suicide, is the saddest story of the lot – as not only did he take his own life – but he also murdered his wife and son. And no – I’m not exclusively blaming CTE for this horror – but it does have to be considered.)
Due to lawsuits (and potential future litigation), league head-honcho, Gary Bettman, a lawyer himself, has irresponsibly denied the existence of CTE in order to serve his own (financial) needs.
In turn, the NHL is suppressing information about concussions to their fans – and even worse – to young & aspiring hockey players too.
Rather than a free-flowing exchange of information, Bettman has put his foot down on such talk – and where his teams, media and partners are not allowed to use the word “concussion.”
These days, the only times you ever hear about NHL players and concussions is when they retire.
Even in a previous era, and not so long ago, we always knew who had concussions, and whether it be Eric Lindros, Pat Lafontaine, or another member of the Rangers’ alumni, and the player that I’ve been comparing Chytil to for some time now, Michael Sauer.
When I heard about USA Hockey’s response to the Johnson death, it just left me wondering – how big of a disservice is the NHL committing by not educating young players about concussions?
As noted about a billion times before on this site, once you get one concussion, then you’re more susceptible to receiving another one, another one after that, and so on and so forth.
In other words, I’m sure there are a lot of kids out there, and adults too, playing through concussions – and both because that’s the way it was done in the old days and because the NHL doesn’t want to “dirty their hands” with such a topic.
And I’m not blaming the NHL for concussions taking place, nor do I think that they should be sued by their alumni who have suffered through them.
As everyone knows – hockey is a physical sport and it comes with risks.
No one is forcing anyone to play the game – and most certainly not at the NHL level.
But to withhold information is just callous.
And while I don’t know this for sure – I wonder how many times throughout Chytil’s career, and even if he was predisposed to them, where he was told “eh, it’s not that bad, you’ll be fine.”
Obviously, we all wish the best for Filip Chytil, the human being – and where as noted on this site before – I hope that he never plays again.
I’ve just seen all of this many times before (and not just with athletes, but with people that I personally know too) – and where there’s no great “comeback story” to share.
Heck, just look at Chytil’s own career – after every head injury sustained, his play on the ice gets worse and worse – and where you can also tell that he doesn’t want to get hit – or even hit anyone else either.
You just can’t play NHL hockey that way.
From what the Rangers are saying, they are still hoping that Chytil can return for the 2024-25 season.
However, to put a time-table on such an injury is also irresponsible.
There should be no target date, no expected return, nor plans to get him back into the line-up at all either.
There is no pill, no surgery or no medical procedure to combat concussions.
The only way to combat them is rest – and avoiding contact.
Best of luck to Chytil and where I hope that he does what’s best for his health – and not what’s best for his career.
Plus, and for those asking – his money is guaranteed – so even if he never laces up the skates again – he’s still set for life.
In other news from Sunday, and previous to the Chytil announcement – the Rangers announced two transactions – and the two most obvious ones:
UPDATE: Jake Leschyshyn and Connor Mackey have been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack.
— NY Rangers PR (@NYR_PR) January 28, 2024
While Jake Leschyshyn hasn’t done anything for the Blueshirts during his three stints/call-ups; Connor Mackey most certainly left an impression in his one game played for the club last night.
But with the break, and looking to save every cap cent possible – it made all the sense in the world to send him back to the ‘Pack.
We’ll see if he returns when the Rangers resume play a week from Monday, as Jacob Trouba will serve the final game of his two-game suspension and where we don’t know if Ryan Lindgren will be at 100% either.
Let’s close with a positive story.
While I didn’t see the annual Rangers v. Islanders alumni game that took place on Sunday afternoon which was held at little brother’s training facility in East Meadow, NY; Matthew Page, of The Hockey News, did cover the game – and posted a ton of pictures on his @MatthewPage24 Twitter account too.
Lundqvist, the biggest name to play in the game, saw his team win by a final score of 6-4, and where Nigel Dawes, Michael Del Zotto, Brandon Prust (2), Adam Graves and Wojtek Wolski scored goals.
As Lundqvist had previously said this past November after preparing for the Hall of Fame game in Toronto – doctors have told him that his heart has been fine, and as a result – he can participate in these low-stress games .
(However, it was also reported that “THE KING OF COMMENTARY” made multiple odd-man rush saves in the game – and charity game or not – no goalie wants to be put in that position!).
Lessening the stress for Lundqvist?
Jaroslav Halak wasn’t in the Isles’ net.
Perhaps craziest above all else?
Lundqvist went the full fifty-minutes (the game was broken up into two 25-minute halves).
Perhaps come next year’s alumni game, Lundqvist, who had his career cut short at the end of it because of his heart issue, can be joined by Filip Chytil – as there’s no hitting in these games.
Then again, we don’t know the full story on Chytil – and if he’s having dizzy spells (I don’t know this for a fact), then I guess that I shouldn’t suggest a thing.
But similar to Ron Greschner, who coached the alumni today (and as he’s been doing for some time), perhaps the Czech, who will always have the hockey bug in him, can serve as an assistant.
One last time before closing – all the best to #72.
As we head home, a reminder, I have already given you all of my trade deadline ideas, and if you missed it, then you can find that blog here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/12024/
I’ll be back sometime next week – and where who knows – maybe we will be talking about the newest Ranger in town.
Enjoy the break.
Thanks for reading.
LET’S GO RANGERS!
@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine