MONTREAL – The sight of George Parros laid out on the ice cast a long shadow on Tuesday.
Parros suffered a concussion early in the third period of the Montreal Canadiens’ 4-3 home-opener loss to the rival Toronto Maple Leafs after slamming face first into the ice during a fight.
Parros was knocked unconscious after a tussle with Colton Orr—their second fight of an unruly game—brought him tumbling to the ice. He fell hard on his chin while attempting to punch Orr, who was tugging at Parros’ jersey.
“Thanks for all the well wishes everyone,” said Parros from his verified Twitter account a few hours after the game, adding the hashtag “classyfollowers.”
The hard-hitting Canadiens forward spent several minutes motionless on the ice, attended to by the teams’ medical staffs, before being taken off on a stretcher. He was taken to the hospital where he was reportedly alert and conscious.
“You never want to see a guy get hurt like that,” said Orr. “It was a scary situation. I just hope he’s all right.
“It happened fast. I slipped and he came on top of me. The ice isn’t going to give.”
Parros and Orr have a long history. The two have fought each other several times in the past, and Orr was injured in a similar fight with Parros two years ago at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Parros, then with the Anaheim Ducks, landed on Orr, who suffered a concussion and didn’t play for the rest of that season.
Parros’ teammates are hoping he will be back with the team soon.
“Any time you see a guy go down—no matter what team he’s on—it’s pretty scary,” said Canadiens captain Brian Gionta. “Hopefully things are all right, and that he’ll bounce back quickly.
“It’s tough. You have a guy who’s coming into a new team and he wants to establish himself. He had a good game tonight stepping up for his guys and protecting his guys. You never like to see him go down like that.”
Shortly after the incident, Toronto’s Mason Raymond—in his first game with the Leafs—put the game out of Montreal’s reach, scoring the eventual game-winner.
Brendan Gallagher thinks his team didn’t react as well as they could have after Parros’ injury.
“Your emotions take you for a little bit of a ride,” said Gallagher. “We would have liked to respond better. It’s tough to see your teammate down. We’re human and we react like humans.
“When it happens, it’s tough. But as soon as the puck drops, you get back to playing. Knowing him and knowing the person he is, he’ll recover and be in our lineup in no time.”
Parros’ injury could reignite the debate about whether fighting has a place in hockey. But Josh Gorges doesn’t think it should.
“I see more players get hurt from hits, collisions, from pucks, than I do from fights,” said Gorges.
“I don’t think saying because a player got hurt in a fight that now we have to talk about taking fighting away. And I bet that if you ask George (Parros), he’ll be the first to agree with me on that one too.”
Parros joined Montreal this summer after one season with the Florida Panthers. Tuesday’s game was his first in a Canadiens uniform.
Montreal’s next game is Saturday, Oct. 5, at home against the Philadelphia Flyers.