Capitals overwhelm Penguins 5-2 to force Game 7

Many would say the past has proven it foolish to back the Capitals in a playoff elimination game.Andre Burakovsky scored twice as the Washington Capitals thrashed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 to level their Eastern Conference semi-final series on Monday. Save for a couple of tight saves in the middle of Game 5 that kept the Capitals within striking distance, Holtby has rarely been tested. Crosby played 20 mostly ineffective minutes, his most notable sequence coming in the first period when he became tangled with Washington defenseman John Carlson and ended up going headfirst into the end boards. So why is the NHL’s concussion spotting protocol so limited in what it can or cannot do when a player has a hit like this on the ice? Whereas Sidney Crosby and his Penguins are still the reigning champs and the only people who think they can win this series are the ones putting on pads tomorrow. Crosby has had four documented concussions. Washington has to overcome their greatest adversary to advance to the next round. So is the fact that he suffered a concussion in Game 3 and missed Game 4.Both teams have had their share of Game 7 experiences over the years. Defensively, the Washington Capitals are allowing 2.2 goals per game and are killing 83.8 percent of their opponents power plays. Concussions and their long-term implications are among the hottest-button issues in sports.”The Concussion Spotter made a determination that the event and the player’s response on the ice did not trigger the criteria in our concussion protocol that would have required or mandated a club to remove a player from play”, Daly told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun.But Crosby and coach Mike Sullivan said he was checked by a doctor and not put into the NHLs concussion protocol. “Those are two different things”.”It just kind of knocked the wind out of me, kind of a fluky fall but not one you want to take too often”, Crosby said. He reported no symptoms. “Yep”, Crosby said. “Yeah”.But let’s read the NHL’s policy a little more.The protocol states that “identification and removal of Players who require an acute evaluation for possible concussion pursuant to this Protocol is a Club level responsibility”, and that Central and In-Arena Spotters assist with that process.The fourth is a player exhibiting a “blank or vacant look”. This time Crosby was even slower to get back up and to the bench. “Ice” as compared to “boards” is in there for a reason. One of those visible signs is “slow to get up”. That’s a blink of the eye in your day.And then you read further.”Depending on the mechanism of injury, “slow to get up” does not trigger mandatory removal,” National Hockey League deputy commissioner Bill Daly said, via USA TODAY Sports.”That was almost the nightmare scenario experts worry about”, Chris Nowinski, co-founder of Concussion Legacy Foundation, said in a statement to Yahoo Sports. “And so you shouldn’t restrict your spotters”.After the game, Crosby said he was evaluated for a concussion, saying, “Yep”.But there’s a flaw here, at least one. It is insane seeing a hockey player with a history of concussions returning to a game five days after being diagnosed with a concussion, especially in this day and age where we have a wealth of knowledge regarding head trauma in sports. “He’s the biggest gamer I’ve ever encountered in my playing career and coaching him in that small time“. Not so, the league maintains, because Crosby’s head smashed into the boards, not the ice.