The Montreal Canadiens had an impressive showing last night, winning 4-2 over the Dallas Stars, coming home with a victory that was, unfortunately, overshadowed by a disastrous incident. Forward Andrew Shaw left Tuesday’s game with what was most likely a head injury.
And we know what you're thinking - yes, another one! Shaw made contact with Dallas Stars - and former Habs - defenseman Greg Pateryn midway through the third period, but got the worst of the head-to-head collision, which sent him crashing hard into the boards. Pateryn was uninjured on the play, and even attempt to retaliate before realizing Shaw was hurt and stopped short of punching him to allow teammates and medical staff to take a close look at him.
Shaw, who has a history of concussions, needed to be helped off the ice and dragged into the dressing room. The team has yet to diagnose anything, but is keeping him “under close evaluation" as Shaw could be diagnosed with his fifth concussion... Fifth!
And we are talking serious recent head injuries. Last spring, the gritty forward sustained a similar injury after a head-on collision with Brady Skeji in Game One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Rangers. There were other intense hits in the remainder of the series, which forced Shaw to sit out during the sixth game of the first round. Probably the fight that took place against Brendan Smith during Game 5 didn't help...
In an interview with Sportsnet‘s Eric Engels, he revealed the extent of some of his symptoms saying adding he'd wake up in the middle of the night puking and worried if there was something really wrong with him: “I wasn’t sleeping right. My emotions were all out of whack; I’d be happy, angry, sad, irritated, anxiety — stuff I’d never experienced before… I was in my room in my house for a month in the dark with depression issues, being sad and miserable. My anxiety was through the roof."
Now, many questions arise. The first one concerns Shaw himself: should he retire from hockey? This tweet in French reminds us that Shaw had once revealed to French media in Montreal that he would consider retiring if he sustained another concussion...
Shaw is expecting his first child this coming July and that will surely play in the balance. The issue has always been at the centre of the NHL, and more recently gained a lot of traction as Bryant Gumbel’s “Real Sports” show on HBO, which is titled “The NHL’s denial of CTE” has come out and had a strong impact on the link between hockey and head injuries. Last week, former Chicago Blackhawks forward Daniel Carrillo reached out to all 31 NHL teams and several players on Twitter in an effort to increase concussion awareness after the sad passing of his friend Steve Montador. Gumbel’s show features interviews with Paul Montador (father of Steve), Eric Lindros and Ken Dryden.
"Critics charge that in failing to admit the game has a problem, the league's leadership has also been slow to reform rules and policies that would protect their players," the HBO special detailed, "while about 150 former pros have filed a lawsuit against the NHL for failing to protect them from head injuries."
"We can do better," said Lindros, who suffered many concussions. “(Explicit) yeah, we can. We can do a lot better."
Will Shaw be added to the list of players whose career will forever be affected by head injuries and concussions? Whose life will be forever changed by the consequences of head trauma? What will he decide to do following yet another injury?
What would you do if you were him?