75°F
weather icon Clear

Fleury played on despite injury Knights finally called a concussion

Updated October 15, 2017 - 9:35 pm

George McPhee can recall suffering just two concussions as an NHL player, but you figure the number was higher.

Back in those days, when you got whacked in the head and it felt as though the arena was spinning and it was impossible to focus your gaze, there was another word for it.

“Hangover,” said McPhee, general manager of the Golden Knights.

Translation: Play on.

But this is an age of protocols, of frightening words like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and lawsuits that follow, of major professional sports leagues insisting their procedures are best when it comes to protecting athletes against brain injury.

Of making sure the health of someone like Marc-Andre Fleury is paramount to anything, including his competitive nature.

Fleury has been placed on injured reserve by the Knights, the goalie and face of the expansion franchise lost for the time being with a concussion suffered in the second period of a 6-3 loss to Detroit on Friday.

Malcolm Subban started in his place Sunday and, in just his third NHL game, was terrific.

Subban stopped all but one of Boston’s 21 shots and the Knights beat the Bruins 3-1 before 17,562 at T-Mobile Arena.

It’s more than fair — not to mention responsible — to inquire about Fleury’s state immediately after taking a knee to the head from Anthony Mantha, and why the goalie not only continued playing, but then came out for the third period, when Detroit scored four goals.

Of why a player who laid on the ice holding his head immediately after the hit never left the game.

This was coach Gerard Gallant following the loss Friday: “The trainer takes care of the goaltender. No one came to me and said, ‘He’s hurt and he’s not ready to play.’ He was fine.”

This was Gallant on Sunday: “I can’t tell you the truth all the time.”

I get it. The secrecy that surrounds pro sports and their millionaire athletes compares to Coca-Cola guarding its recipe. Woody Allen in, like, any role he ever played, isn’t as paranoid as those running teams when it comes to injuries.

You want some real loons regarding surreptitious information?

Try football coaches. Those guys lie more than you blink.

The NHL has in recent times implemented a number of policies and procedures to enhance its concussion protocol, including spotters monitoring all games from New York and in each arena.

We know the NFL’s concussion issues aren’t getting any better. We also know NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, in a 2016 response to an inquiry from Sen. Richard Blumenthal and in a time when the league continues to face a class-action lawsuit over its handling of concussions by former players, famously (ignorantly?) restated his belief that there is no proven connection between concussions and the degenerative brain disease CTE.

It still comes down to testing, to a team’s medical staff assessing the situation and determining whether the player is hurt or out-acting DiCaprio when answering questions to remain in a game.

“(Fleury) passed all the tests on ice and between periods with flying colors,” said McPhee, who has been a member of NHL committees studying concussions. “It wasn’t until after the game that there was a spike with one of the tests, an issue. We knew then there might be a problem.

“It was the same issue (Saturday morning). So we will continue to follow the protocol and just be very careful with him and take our time. I’m definitely comfortable with the protocol and the way our club performed with it (Friday night).

“(Fleury) thought he was fine. He’s a team player. We were winning (3-2) at the time and he wanted to preserve the win. He thought after the game that he let the team down.”

It’s not a first for Fleury, who suffered two concussions with Pittsburgh during the 2015-16 season. There’s no question the Knights defense let him down often in that third period Friday, but it was also obvious he wasn’t the same goalie who had been so impressive in the season’s first three games.

His teammates knew it also.

“I think you saw it on the last (Detroit) goal,” said forward David Perron. “His energy was maybe a little bit different on the ice. I’m just looking forward to getting him back and making sure he does the right steps to get healthy again.”

Said defenseman Colin Miller: “You kind of look back and he definitely got hit pretty hard there on the head. It’s never a good thing. They have the protocol in there for a reason, but as a competitive guy, he wanted to finish the game. Just a bad break.”

That, and a whole lot more serious than — how did Gallant refer to it Saturday? — a “maintenance day.”

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge Mailbag | October 17th, 2019
The Review-Journal's Ben Gotz and Cassie Soto are back for a new rendition of the Golden Edge mailbag! Send in your VGK questions, and they'll answer them live on the stream.
Malcom Subban Day-To-Day, Gallant Talks Golden Knights' Goaltenders - VIDEO
After suffering an undisclosed lower body injury in a loss to the Arizona Coyotes, Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban was announced as having a day-to-day injury when head coach Gerard Gallant spoke about his goaltenders after practice.
Golden Knights lose 4-1 to Coyotes - VIDEO
The Golden Knights lost 4-1 to the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale. VGK Goalie Malcolm Subban exited the game early with an injury and is Day-to-day.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant knows Coyotes are "very aggressive" - Video
The Golden Knights will head to Arizona to face the Coyotes on Thursday with hopes to bounce back from Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Bruins. Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant is fully aware that the Coyotes are a very aggressive team and knows his guys will have to match that speed.
Golden Knights Feast on Shark - Video
After swimming with (and defeating) the Sharks in their first two games of the season, the entire Vegas Golden Knights team feasted on their fair share of seafood at Zuma Las Vegas inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Golden Knights Greet Fans At Gold Carpet - Video
The Golden Knights walk the gold carpet before puck drop at their season opener against the San Jose Sharks at the T-Mobile Arena.
Golden Knights Hold Private Practice, Lunch for 1 October First Responders - Video
The Golden Knights held a private practice at City National Arena for first responders, Mandalay Bay employees and guests who were affected by the 1 October events. After practice, guests were able to meet the Golden Knights themselves to take pictures and get autographs.
Golden Knights Prepare to Honor Those Affected by 1 October - VIDEO
Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon discusses the teams upcoming practice which will honor those affected by the events on October 1, 2017. The team has invited guests including first responders, Mandalay Bay employees and others who were impacted. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon Discusses Roster Updates - VIDEO
Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon discusses the teams roster and key injuries ahead of Opening Day (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Golden Knights Max Pacioretty on the Golden Edge Podcast - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty joins the Golden Edge podcast to talk about the upcoming season for the Knights, the rivalry with the Sharks and the Pacioretty 67 burger.
Golden Knights Alex Tuch, Cody Eakin Injured in Preseason Loss to Kings
The Golden Knights not only lost to the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Friday night, the team also saw Alex Tuch and Cody Eakin head off the ice with injuries. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz give an update on the players injuries as well as discuss what went wrong for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights Suffer Second Preseason Loss to the Kings - Video
The Golden Knights suffered the team's second loss of the preseason, this time to the LA Kings 3-2. Head coach Gerard Gallant knows his team got off to a sloppy start but was impressed with the final effort.
Golden Knights Forward Ryan Reaves wants to play in the pre-season - VIDEO
Golden Knights Forward Ryan Reaves talks about coming back from an injury and a possible long term deal with the team. September 26, 2019.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gallant speaks on injuries and cuts before last two pre-season games - VIDEO
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant speaks after practice on September 26, 2019, on injuries and cuts before last two pre-season games.
Golden Knights Suffer First Preseason Loss to Avalanche, 4-1 - Video
The Golden Knights suffered the team's first preseason loss, after falling to the Avalanche 4-1. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz break down what went wrong for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights React to First Preseason Loss - Video
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant called the first loss of the preseason a "team loss" that was "tough to watch."
Paul Stastny On Playing More Games - Video
Golden Knights forward Paul Stastny talks about preparing for the regular season and playing more games before the season starts.
Golden Knights Nate Schmidt Talks About Seeking Change With PED Testing - Video
The Golden Knights wrap up their practice for the day and Nate Schmidt hoping to see changes to PED testing.
Nate Schmidt On Wanting Change With PED Testing - Video
Nate Schmidt speaks about wanting to see change with PED testing in the NHL.
Fleury and Marchessault Play Heads Up - Video
Golden Knights Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Jonathan Marchessault play heads up VGK edition.
Aliens Invade City National Arena for Competition
Aliens attended the City National Arena for a competition to see who was best dressed. The prize was out of this world. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights rally to beat Kings in OT, 3-2
The Golden Knights were down 2-0 halfway through the third period, but two quick goals helped get the team back on track to beat the Kings 3-2 in overtime.
Golden Knights' Deryk Engelland Shares Advice with Rookies - Video
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland has some advice for rookies: “Stick with what got you there.” The veteran NHL player also recalls his first goal as a pro.
Golden Knights Continue Preseason Success with Win Over Avalanche - Video
The Golden Knights prospects are continuing to prove they are worthy of a starting position, this time with a shutout 5-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant Praises Prospects - Video
A day after the Golden Knights 6-2 preseason victory over the Arizona Coyotes, head coach Gerard Gallant discussed how impressed he is with the prospects, including defensemen Nicolas Hague and Dylan Coghlan.
Golden Knights On First Preseason Win - Video
The Golden Knights talk about their first preseason win including Max Pacioretty's hat trick and putting Malcolm Subban as the goaltender for tonight's game.
Golden Knights Zamboni Lessons 101 - Video
The Golden Knights preseason tips off on Sunday, Sept. 15 and you know what that mean, it's time to roll out the zamboni! Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a zamboni operator for the Golden Knights? Golden Edge host Cassie Soto finds out!
Allegiant Unveils Golden Knights Plane - Video
Allegiant air officially unveils its new Golden Knights airbus that will take to the skies soon.
Golden Knights Rookie Camp: 3 Takeaways - Video
Vegas Golden Knights rookies took to the ice on Friday morning for practice at City National Arena. While the rookies mainly participated in drills, it was good to see the prospects get ice time. Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz discuss their three takeaways from the practice.
Golden Knights Host Charity Golf Classic - Video
The Golden Knights held its 2019 Charity Golf Classic on Wednesday at TPC Summerlin. Before teeing off, Golden Knights players Ryan Reaves, Jonathan Marchassault and Alex Tuch said who they thought were the worst and best golfers on their team.
Ryan Reaves performs wedding ceremony
Reverand Reavo makes his debut for one time only at the Chapel of Flowers for a get married by Ryan Reaves contest.
THE LATEST
 
WWE teaches NBA valuable lesson about identity

In a week’s time across the sports landscape, that which is globally accepted as fake proved far more honest than a major professional league struggling to admit what it really is.

 
Raiders, Khalil Mack to meet again in London

Oakland and Bears linebacker Khalil Mack will encounter one another for the first time Sunday since the elite pass rusher was traded in September of 2018.