Retired NHL players’ concussion lawsuit takes another step in U.S. court; what’s next for both sides?

Adam Proteau
Bernie Nicholls (Getty Images)

The ongoing lawsuit filed against the NHL by former players in U.S. court took its next step with a Wednesday ruling from a judge who denied the league’s motion to dismiss it. It appears unlikely there will be any end to the legal proceedings anytime soon. In fact, these are still the early days of a high-stakes, protracted battle that almost assuredly has numerous twists and turns ahead.

The lawsuit, filed in a U.S. district court in Minnesota, has six named plaintiffs – retired NHLers Bernie Nicholls, Gary Leeman, Reed Larson, Dan LaCouture, Mike Peluso and Dave Christian – who claim the NHL was derelict in its duty to inform and protect players of risks associated with concussions and traumatic brain injuries. And Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled the league’s attempts to have the case thrown out – by arguing on three fronts: the case not being “adequately pled”; jurisdiction issues; and time sensitivity – was not enough to stop players from continuing on with it.

“We are pleased the Court has confirmed the validity of our claims and found the NHL’s arguments insufficient to warrant dismissal of this case,” co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs said in a statement after the ruling. “It is time for the NHL to be held accountable for deliberately ignoring and concealing the risks of repeated head impacts, and finally provide security and care to retired players whom the League has depended on for its success.”

In a statement to THN Wednesday evening, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly acknowledged the case is in its infancy and indicated the league intended on presenting a vigorous defense as it moves ahead. Read more

KHL player is conscious, recovering after gruesome head injury

Ryan Kennedy
Avangard captain Sergei Kalinin  (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

It’s the type of accident you never want to see happen.

Avangard Omsk captain Sergei Kalinin took a clean hit against Barys Astana on Sunday, but with brutal consequences: his helmet came off in the collision and the big center’s head bounced off the ice as a result, sending him into convulsions.

According to Avangard’s website, Kalinin was rushed to a leading medical clinic and will be kept in Astana for at least 10 days. The report also stated that Kalinin is conscious and talking already, but it was a frightful scene.


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Semyon Varlamov injured – but here’s why the Avalanche will be OK

Matt Larkin
Semyon Varlamov.(Getty Images)

Minnesota Wild defenseman Mathew Dumba draws comparisons to Dion Phaneuf for many reasons. Both played junior with the Red Deer Rebels, both can dish out big hits…and both can hammer a puck.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov learned that the hard way Sunday night. A Dumba howitzer caught ‘Varly’ in the collarbone area during the second period:

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Jets’ defenseman Dustin Byfuglien out with upper body injury

Jeff Doner
Dustin Byfuglien. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

The Winnipeg Jets will be without one of their top players for the next 2-to-4 weeks and right in the midst of an intense playoff push. Coach Paul Maurice confirmed Byfuglien’s injury at a press conference on Friday.

“We’ll miss him. He’s a force back there, for sure,” said Maurice. “We’ve dealt with a number of injuries on our back-end; we have good people to put in the lineup and they’ve played well and won games.”

Byfuglien’s injury occurred during a 3-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night after a battle with Sens forward Erik Condra. Byfuglien left the ice and did not return.

The 29-year-old has scored 15 goals and 42 points in 65 games for the Jets this season and will leave a void on a Winnipeg squad that is clinging on to a wildcard spot in the Western Conference.

The team is also currently without center Bryan Little, who was hurt in Wednesday’s matchup against Ottawa. Maurice said he expects Little to be back in the lineup at the tail-end of Winnipeg’s current road trip next week and that he is confident the rest of the team will step up to take on bigger roles.

“The other veteran players have got to make sure their game is at their best, they’re trying to every night, but you’ve got to make sure everybody is on the ‘no passenger concept’ and everybody has got to add something to it,” Maurice said.

Swedish player crosschecked in the head, lays motionless before being stretchered off

Jared Clinton
Jens Olsson (via Robert Soderlind/Vine)

There was a scary scene in the Swedish second tier playoffs on Thursday as Jens Olsson, a defenseman for the Malmo Redhawks, laid motionless on the ice after receiving a crosscheck to the back of the head from Rogle BK’s Jakob Lilja.

After laying prone on the ice for several moments, Olsson was removed from the ice by stretcher and taken to a local hospital. Thankfully, local media reports say that Olsson only suffered a muscle injury and that he was awake, moving his extremities and had x-rays taken at hospital.

The video below, via Robert Soderlind’s Vine page, shows the crosscheck and the aftermath: Read more

Isles’ Matt Martin suspended one game for hit on Stars defenseman Trevor Daley

Adam Proteau
Matt Martin (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Islanders left winger Matt Martin was suspended for one game by the NHL’s department of player safety Wednesday for his knee-on-knee collision with veteran Stars blueliner Trevor Daley.

The collision took place early in the first period of Tuesday’s game between the Islanders and Dallas. Martin received a five-minute major penalty for kneeing on the play, as well as a game misconduct. But the league, which in its ruling Wednesday night referred to the play as “reckless”, decided that supplemental discipline was necessary: Read more