NHL Week in Review (April 30-May 6)

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The playoffs are heating up even more as this week a number of teams took commanding leads only to see them start to slip away.

As the second round series begin to get even tighter one team is without their most important player.

The Pittsburgh Penguins lost Sidney Crosby early in the week when he was hit in the head falling down after a hook from Alexander Ovechkin.

The hit resulted in a concussion for the superstar which is very concerning for the best player in hockey.

He came into the league as the next Gretzky and was supposed to become the best player ever.

He was certainly on his way there as he continued to move up the rankings and quickly became the best player in hockey.

In 2011 his rise to being the best ever took a hit as he took two head hits within the same week which sidelined him.

He was out until part way through the next season as the two hits had given him his first diagnosed concussion in the NHL.

It was a major blow to Pittsburgh and to the league that all of a sudden began to look at concussions a lot differently.

When their superstar goes down with an injury they have been generally ignoring things change and the league began taking head hits in a different way.

Crosby had lost a big chunk of those two seasons but he looked to continue his career in the 2011-12 season until his concussion symptoms began again.

After only five games he was removed from the lineup after another dangerous hit and for the majority of the season he remained out.

Many wondered if he would ever return to full strength and become that player that he was supposed to be.

He eventually did return after undergoing neck surgery to repair tissue damage and seemingly recovered from his post-concussion symptoms.

Since his return in 2013, he has returned to being that amazing player that everyone expected and even led the Penguins to a second Stanley Cup in 2016.

He looked back to full health and things seemed to be moving like they should for the best player in hockey.

That was until the hit earlier this week when he went down with another concussion and the questions are coming again.

He has missed one game after the hit but returned for Game 5 after he had reportedly recovered enough.

The bigger concern should be about his future in hockey as concussions are not something that can be recovered from easily.

One is a big concern for anyone playing any contact sport but Crosby has already suffered three diagnosed concussions.

One concussion makes it easier to get another and the damage done cannot be reversed in terms of the impact on the brain.

If he is not the same player will they give him more time to recover or will his career essentially be over?

After the first run in with the injury things looked bad but eventually, he returned to being the best player in the sport.

Now after another there is only the unknown and nobody knows who he will be when he gets back on the ice.

Then again he may never get back on the ice and for the sport as a whole, that will be a massive loss of the greatest player playing today.

If he can’t return to being the player that he was the story of Crosby will be that he had massive amounts of talent but his potential was taken away by concussions.

He will be the example of what concussions can take away in an era where head injuries have already taken most of the headlines.

Overtime

Second Signing

The Vegas Golden Knights are remaining active as they prepare for their first season in the NHL as they get ready for the expansion draft later this year. They have already added one player as Reid Duke became their first official player in March. This week they added their second as the Knights signed KHL free agent Vadim Shipachyov. The signing is a fairly big one as Shipachyov is a great player that could do some big things in Vegas as their team gets closer to completion.

Review Controversy Again

These playoffs have had a number of controversial moments but the replay system is coming under fire more often than usual. It happened again when the Edmonton Oilers looked for a replay to prove that there was goalie interference on Anaheim’s winning goal in Game 5. That call was not overturned despite the thought by many that the replays clearly showed interference leaving the Oilers one game from elimination.

Ovechkin Demoted

Alexander Ovechkin is the leader of the Washington Capitals as the best player on the team and a major reason for their success over the year. Yet the team continues to struggle in the playoffs and to try to switch that fate they made some changes. That included sending their best player from the first line to the third line in hopes of providing a more balanced attack. The strategy seemed to work but if it stops working the Caps may have an angry superstar on their hands.

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