It does not seem long ago when Steve Mason went down with a concussion. After the Stanley Cup is raised, the Philadelphia Flyers could be in hot water
with how they handled Mason in the days leading up to Game 4 of the first round.
Saturday afternoon, Elliotte Friedman published his “30 Thoughts” column. Friedman speculated on several topics but toward the end of his column, he reported the NHL will begin cracking down on any teams who have not followed concussion protocol outlined by the league.
22. …At his annual State of the Union prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, commissioner Gary Bettman indicated the league is investigating teams (and players) who do not correctly follow protocol. But he and deputy commissioner Bill Daly wouldn’t say if anyone has been fined.
The Flyers were criticized by many, including the outspoken Allan Walsh, for not following protocol and putting Mason’s well-being at risk.
After the Flyers were eliminated from the playoffs, Mason admitted he had been experiencing headaches before Game 3 and the night before Game 4. This could be in violation of the NHL Concussion Protocol.
Now before any of us jump to conclusions, let’s take a look from another perspective. It is the first round of the playoffs. The Flyers are down 2-1 in the series and their starting goaltender, who has had a phenomenal year, is watching from afar. Mason told Flyers writer Tim Panaccio that he wanted to play but head coach Craig Berube refused. Mason said he was “100 percent” when he started Game 4.
Should Mason have backed up Ray Emery during Game 3? The Flyers should have kept him off the bench and in the press box, but concussions vary from person to person and Mason could have felt healthy enough to start Game 4.
Concussions are not a cookie-cutter type of diagnosis. Each concussion affects each player differently. Look no further than how Sidney Crosby struggled to get back on the ice and how quickly Claude Giroux returned to action. Symptoms can be nonexistent one day and flare up the next day. It is up to the team doctors to evaluate the player and determined whether it is safe for him to return to action.