There was nothing nefarious about the head shot that Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos took in Game 3 against Montreal on Sunday night. It just happened that a battle for position with the Canadiens’ Brandon Prust ended with the Lightning captain being knocked to the ice directly in the path of Alexei Emelin. With no time to avoid a collision, the right skate of the Montreal defender slammed into the back of Stamkos’ head, leaving him on his knees, dazed.
For the record, that’s not a trained medical opinion. I have no idea whether that hit left Stamkos shaken up, seeing stars, or straight out concussed. But it looked bad. Really bad.
And so did what happened next, because it was so utterly predictable. After being attended to by the team’s trainer, Stamkos got to the bench under his own steam — barely, but he made it — and headed to “the quiet room” where, presumably, a team physician conducted a series of league-mandated tests to determine his condition.
And then he was right back on the ice to start the third period.
Again, there’s no telling how seriously Stamkos was shaken up on the play. The team wouldn’t even confirm that he had undergone concussion protocols, so maybe it really was nothing. But his own words are revealing.
“I tried to shake it off,” Stamkos said. “Games like this, you don’t want to miss any time. I want to be out there as much as I can to help our team win.”