Our submission for the NHL's new concussion protocol


Our submission for the NHL's new concussion protocol

By Justin Aucoin

The NHL began its new concussion protocol last night. Any players suspected of having a concussion has to sit in a quiet room for 15 minutes while a team physician examines him.

Exactly what this protocol will entail is still TBD, of course.

Per PuckDaddy:

"Yeah, they're still working on the protocol, but it does take effect and the loose ends are being tied up. It's a pretty tough protocol to deal with. What is deemed a concussion? I don't want to go there yet. We're still trying to nail it down." NHL VP Colin Campbell

You dont want to go there yet? Youre enacting a protocol but arent sure whats deemed a concussion nor want to talk about it? Wow. Were sure the players are feeling safer already.

Nothing like enacting a protocol that doesnt seem to have any direction, nor is close to completion.

But since the NHL is still working out the kinks, as it were, we decided to lend a helping hand in them deciding if someone has a concussion with a mere five questions.

Note: Were not doctors; nor do we play one on TV. But we have a blog so, clearly, were experts.

1. How many fingers am I holding up?
a. 2 (2 pts. Hes a hockey player; he might not know how to count)
b. 4 (1 pts. See above; it could be a lucky guess)
c. Oh god, oh god! Why is Ralph Wiggum my physician? (10 pts. Though its a legit question)

2. What do you think hit you?
a. Car (5 pts)
b. Truck (10 pts)
c. Johnny Boychuk (50 pts)

3. What actually hit you?
a. Mike Giardi (2 pts. Really, Secret Agent Giardi did this to him? Hes probably faking.)
b. Mary Paoletti (25 pts. Never make fun of UConn again!)
c. Johnny Boychuk (-50 pts. He survived the hit; that counts for something right?)
d. Matt CookeTrevor GillesOther goons (10 pts. Probably got an elbow to the head)

4. Who are you?
a. Insert name (5 pts. Mightve just read the nameplate of their jersey)
b. Marc Savard (100 pts)
c. My name or my idegosuper-ego? (-5 pts for being so lucid)

5. What do you see?
a. A face (2 pts. Not bad)
b. Nothing (5 pts. No imagination)
c. My MRI? (15 pts. Theyre right)

Score Sheet
0 -20 = No concussion. Free to return.
21 50 = Possible concussion. Flip a coin.
51 = Definitely a concussion. Keep him out. Call the NHL or, if youre in Montreal, call 911.

He can go back and play unless hes the star forward for the away team of an interdivision rival in a tight hockey game; then hes kept out.

Branch carries on with productive season after suspension is overturned

Branch carries on with productive season after suspension is overturned

FOXBORO – The first snap of the game for the Los Angeles Rams offense was an inside handoff to running back Todd Gurley. He was summarily stuffed by Patriots defensive lineman Alan Branch for a 1-yard loss.

It was happenstance, of course, that the Rams chose to run right at Branch. But it was no coincidence that the Branch was there to envelop Gurley like an upright sofa. The 6-foot-6, 350-pound, 31-year-old has been doing that all season. And on Saturday, word broke that he will be able to continue doing so, uninterrupted by NFL discipline.


Branch, who was set to be suspended by the NFL for testing positive for marijuana, had his suspension rescinded by the league. The league did so without hearing the appeal Branch filed. Apparently, they decided they just got it wrong. The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reports that the traces of marijuana in Branch’s system were from a previously failed test and did not constitute a separate incident.

It’s been a strange season for Branch, a quirky, goofy, good-natured guy who dances during practices, stretching, on the sidelines and in between plays more than any other Patriot. That’s if any other Patriot actually dances. Branch was suspended by the team for a week during training camp. Reason unknown.

Regardless, his play’s been very good.

“This has definitely been the most productive year I’ve had so far,” he said. “Is it my best? When it comes to numbers it probably would be but there’s a lot of plays and a lot of games I could have done better. I’m kinda my own worst critic.”

Why has he been so productive?

“It’s a good defense for me,” he explained. “The playcalls and way we play goes to my strength to allow me to make plays and I’m making them.”

Branch has 40 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble this season. He had just that lone tackle on the stat sheet on Sunday, but he was a factor even if the stats don’t say so. During one first-half rush, Branch worked upfield with a bull rush, then spun back to his right to get in the face of Rams quarterback Jared Goff, forcing an incompletion.  

“That’s all reaction,” said Branch. “That was a hard day’s work on that play because I kept reacting and reacting and then I was right there. I just get out there and try to cause some ruckus.”

Meanwhile, the would-be suspension caused a ruckus for Branch prior to Saturday.

“I was upset because I knew I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “Having my name out there for my family and friends and my kids family and friends to see, you never want to have that on you. But I just wanted to go out there and take it one day at a time and play my best ball because I felt pretty confident that I was going to win the appeal or whatever was going to happen. I expected it because I didn’t see how it could go any other way when I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Asked if the league reached out to apologize for getting it wrong, Branch said, “I haven’t gotten anything yet. I haven’t read any emails yet, I haven’t opened my emails.”

Asked if he cares to hear an apology, Branch said, “I do care. I don’t know if it’s an apology or what (that he’s seeking) but the position I was put in was something else.”