Capitals overwhelm Penguins 5-2 to force Game 7

Capitals overwhelm Penguins 5-2 to force Game 7

Capitals overwhelm Penguins 5-2 to force Game 7

What happened after Crosby was hit late in the first period is murky.

Also after the game, in an interview that aired on the NHL Network, Crosby was asked if he was evaluated for a concussion.

"As far as being checked by a doctor, yes, absolutely", Crosby said. "Yup. Yeah. Pretty standard", was his response.

Crosby would go on to finish the game, and to be frank, it was hard to tell whether his game was off or if he was missing anything, because the Penguins failed to show up entirely.

It's that kind of thing that the National Hockey League had in mind when it made the changes to the program prior to this season. Every game is monitored by spotters stationed in the league's player safety room in NY. The fifth is when a player is "slow to get up" or "clutches his head". "I believe in this group and we're going to rely on our experience". These post-concussion tests may not be flawless - National Football League players have admitted to cheating to beat the tests, so that's possible in hockey, too - but having so many loopholes shows it's little more than window dressing in the end. But that amount of time when play is still going on is the equivalent to an eternity.

And then, the play last night, where a barreling Crosby tripped over Braden Holtby's stick and was nudged off-balance by contact with John Carlson. "Two, I've never been past the second round".

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Daly also told USA Today that concussion history is not "taken into account" by spotters when deciding whether or not to remove a player from a game. After Crosby missed Game 4 with a concussion, he returned in Game 5.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will need to carry this team on their backs.

Other criteria for an immediate concussion evaluation include: a player "lying motionless on the ice", having "motor incoordination/balance problems, "blank or vacant look" or is "slow to get up or clutches head". And this has nothing to do with the Penguins because the new concussion spotter protocol was supposed to take this decision entirely out of their hands.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the centralized concussion spotter made the determination that Crosby's fall did not meet the concussion protocol criteria for mandatory removal from play. In Game 6, it was his physicality that made a difference. As soon as they start to trail, their shot selection deteriorates as they start firing the puck on net from everywhere as opposed to setting up better opportunities.

So now the Caps have a chance to really clear major hurdles, come tomorrow night. It was supposed to take team personnel off the hook. He did not immediately leave the ice after the play, rejoining the Penguins' power play for a defensive-zone faceoff. And all of that is completely understandable under the circumstances.

The protocol states the "identification and removal" of players for "acute evaluation for possible concussion" is the team's responsibility. But in the modern National Hockey League where hooking, holding and other obstruction fouls are called tighter and power plays are so important, drawing penalties is a skill that is worth its weight in goals, points in the standings, wins and possibly even money on the next contract. Which is exactly why a dispassionate, unbiased person who is both literally and figuratively removed from the situation is empowered to make those decisions. "It doesn't hurt the psyche, that's for sure, because I think it takes a little frustration out of your game if you finally crack through a little bit".

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