EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - All hockey teams treat concussions differently. Some won’t use the word. In playoffs, the Quiet Room is apparently located on the bench.
But the Los Angeles Kings -- even with rugged, old-school Darryl Sutter running the show -- took a full two weeks before letting Jarret Stoll back on the ice after his concussion in Game 1 of their second-round series with San Jose.
And they are treating Mike Richards’s “symptoms” with a similar caution.
“It’s like when you asked about Jarret last series, the same questions you have, are the same ones I have,” Sutter said Monday. “It’s not today, it’s tomorrow. It’s after activity and how they react to that. There’s no secret to it.”
There is a lot of mystery to head trauma, but together, the player and the coach came to the right decision prior to the Kings’ Game 2 loss to Chicago on Sunday evening.
Richards was dazed by a hit from Blackhawks’ David Bolland late in the series opener Saturday. Sutter consulted with him after warmup prior to Game 2 and saw that he wasn’t quite himself. Richards admitted it, and he was scratched.
“That’s a player you know and trust and you know how he plays,” Sutter said. “He was fine all day but once he got to the United Center last night and he starts thinking about being a warrior and the blood starts pumping and he starts going through his routine… he knows himself.”
Would that decision have been made the same way 20 years ago?
“Probably not, 'cause you didn't talk to yourself about it as a player,” Sutter said. “You know what, you just played. You didn't go ask somebody. Wasn't a huge staff watching you. Basically it was you and your teammates, a couple coaches.”
Sutter said his job was to have a Plan B in place.
“It's not just for Mike. We had guys in warmup that were banged up. You got to check. You don't turn your roster in till about 16 minutes before the game. That's what we waited till,” he said.
“(If) guys that are getting froze up, can't get it froze up, that sort of thing, you got to make the decision. Guys tell me whether they can play or not.”
Richards told him. Sutter listened.
That is progress, of a sort.
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