Montreal enforcer George Parros hit the ice face-first and suffered a concussion. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
The story out of Montreal last night should have been about James Reimer making his case to be the starting goalie for the Maple Leafs, or the beast-mode performance from Lars Eller, which seemed to hint at what might lie ahead this season for the Canadiens’ promising young center.
Instead, last night’s season opener between Toronto and Montreal was defined by a grim injury to Canadiens enforcer George Parros that left the veteran forward prone on the ice and sucked the air out of what had, up to that point, been a rollicking Bell Centre.
Early in the third period of the Maple Leafs’ 4-3 win, Parros was doing what he gets paid to do: trading punches with Toronto tough guy Colton Orr. It was their second fight of the night. As the brawl wound down, Orr lost his balance and fell to the ice. On the way down, he grabbed Parros’ jersey and pulled him down. It was the sort of tumble you see all the time at the end of a punch-up, when both parties are usually exhausted. Only this time, Parros was unable to get his arms up and brace for impact. He fell hard, unprotected, face-first on the ice.
At first, Parros appeared to be unconscious. Soon, he was moving. The nine-year veteran attempted to get up after receiving medical attention, but the trainers advised him to lay back down as they called for a stretcher. Parros was then taken to a hospital, where it was reported that doctors had diagnosed him with a concussion. It’s unknown at this point how long he’ll be out of the Canadiens lineup. He is, however, out of the hospital.
It was a horrifying moment. And it’s not surprising that it quickly ignited another chapter in the endless debate on the place of fighting in hockey.
But as bad as it looked — and as much as the anti-fighting advocates might hope otherwise — this incident won’t change anything.