Governors learn more on injuries
RALEIGH, N.C. — As Marc Savard rests at home in Peterborough, Ontario, his season and perhaps his career in question, the NHL puzzles over concussions, how they happen, and what it can do to reduce them.
At yesterday’s Board of Governors meeting, Savard, Sidney Crosby, and other concussed NHLers were at the center of discussion. Amid the talk, the governors learned that concussions such as Savard’s — ones not delivered via head shots — are on the rise, according to preliminary data.
“For the 2010-11 regular season, concussions are up,’’ said commissioner Gary Bettman. “It appears — and again, I want to re-emphasize that it’s preliminary — the increase in concussions appears to be in the area of accidental or inadvertent situations, as most did not involve any contact whatsoever to the victim’s head by the opponent.’’
Savard’s concussion falls into this category. At 3:19 of the second period of last Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Avalanche, former teammate Matt Hunwick laid out the Bruins center with what Boston coach Claude Julien termed a clean check.
Hunwick thumped Savard’s body, but then Savard’s head slammed into the glass. He has missed two games because of a moderate concussion.
Savard’s severe concussion on March 7, 2010, came via a head shot. Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke targeted Savard with a blind-side wallop to the head, the type of hit that since has been addressed by Rule 48. Bettman said there has been a decrease in concussions via blind-side head shots.
“This year, we’ve seen an increase in concussions from hits to the body that have resulted in the head having secondary contact with the glass, boards, or ice,’’ Bettman said.
The commissioner declined to disclose how many concussions have been recorded. The challenges the league now has include why concussions such as Savard’s are on the rise, and whether the game can be altered to prevent such injuries.
Chara blasts record shot
Last night, Zdeno Chara won the hardest-shot competition for the fourth straight time. In doing so, Chara broke his own record by blasting a 105.9-mile-per-hour slapper. Two years ago, Chara set the record with a 105.4-m.p.h. shot.
“It felt really good,’’ Chara said of his record-setting cannon. “Right from the get-go, I felt I had good timing and good speed. I placed the puck really well on the blade. It felt good.’’
Shea Weber got the best of Chara during the preliminary round. Weber landed a 104.8-m.p.h. shot, while Chara topped out at 104.1.
“I wasn’t saving it,’’ Chara said. “I was actually going hard on the first two. It just happened that the third one worked out perfect. I was actually trying harder on the first two.’’
Starry-eyed Shattenkirk A year ago, Kevin Shattenkirk was a junior at Boston University, trying to figure out how the Terriers went from a championship team in 2008-09 to an NCAA also-ran.
Now, the first-year pro, raised in Greenwich, Conn., is an NHLer for good — and among the All-Stars, at that.
“No chance. No chance,’’ the Colorado rookie said when asked if he ever imagined being with the All-Stars only a year after doing his thing on Commonwealth Avenue. “I figured I’d probably have some time down in the minors. But obviously things have fallen into place and worked out. It’s been great.’’
Shattenkirk, Colorado’s first-round pick in 2007, appeared in the SuperSkills competition last night. He started the season in Lake Erie but was called up Nov. 4 and has stuck with the big club.
The 5-foot-11-inch, 193-pound defenseman has scored seven goals and has 19 assists for 26 points, tying him with Cam Fowler for most among all rookies.
Time change on Feb. 13 On Feb. 13, the Bruins will play the Red Wings at 12:30 p.m. on NBC at Joe Louis Arena. The game was scheduled for 5 p.m. . . . Tyler Seguin was scheduled to fly back to Boston today. Seguin and the rest of the Bruins will practice tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Ristuccia Arena, then fly to Raleigh, N.C., for Tuesday’s game against the Hurricanes. Tim Thomas and Chara will remain in Raleigh instead of returning to Boston . . . During the fastest skater competition, when he squared off against Cam Ward, Thomas took a tumble at the start of his lap. Spills aren’t new to Thomas, who hardly qualifies as the smoothest-skating goalie . . . Seguin topped out at 97.1 m.p.h. with his hardest slap shot. Seguin is better known for his snap shot than his slapper.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.