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McDavid ‘shocked’ concussion spotter sent him off, protocol is ‘inconvenient’

Connor McDavid was about to get the chance to help the Oilers take the lead Sunday on a second period power play when he was pulled from the game by concussion spotters. The entire situation caught the Edmonton captain off guard.

The Oilers dropped Sunday’s game against the Wild 2-1 on an overtime goal by Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu, but Edmonton captain Connor McDavid could have very well turned the tide had he been available for a brief 5-on-3 power play late in the second period.

Instead, McDavid was sitting in the dressing room undergoing concussion protocol. 

Earlier in the frame, McDavid had been working the puck behind the net when he was tripped up by Jared Spurgeon. The contact resulted in McDavid falling and smacking his chin on the ice while attempting to continue to play the puck. He remained out on the ice for the remainder of his shift, however, with little more than a slight nick in his lip to show for it.

As McDavid’s shift came to an end, he headed for the bench and took a seat for nearly a minute, at which point there was a stoppage in play and the call came from the league’s concussion spotters to pull McDavid from the game. McDavid looked incredulous upon learning he had to head back to the dressing room.

“I was pretty shocked, to be honest,” McDavid said post-game. “I hit my mouth on the ice. You reach up and grab your mouth when you get hit in the mouth. I think that’s a pretty normal thing. Obviously the spotter thought he knew how I was feeling and he pulled me off. (Crappy) time in the game, too, I guess, when it’s a partial 5-on-3 and a power play after late in the second period where, if you capitalize, it can change the game.”

The trip to the dressing room did cost McDavid quite a bit of game time, too. He was gone for the remainder of the second period while undergoing tests, which take much longer than some may expect.

“Before the season starts you go through a concussion test (to get) your baseline when you do that,” McDavid said. “It takes 20 minutes or so. It’s a bit of a process and pretty inconvenient.”

Asked about the situation following the loss, Oilers coach Todd McLellan said that McDavid being pulled from the game was more impactful because it came when it did — just at the start of a 5-on-3 and as Edmonton was set for another power play — but said he backed the rules, even if he does wish it would be more black and white.

“For me, I understand and I get and I support the attention that’s being paid to head injuries. It’s just sometimes the inconsistency that’s a little frustrating,” McLellan said. “Ryan Kesler went down the other, and he went down pretty hard, no one wants to see that, not even an opponent, but there wasn’t a call from anyone. It’s there for a reason and we have to live with it.”

Upon returning to the game, McDavid had three shots on goal, including two in overtime. He finished the outing with nearly 21 minutes of ice time and four shots, but didn’t find the score sheet.

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