An interesting situation arose in the third period on Tuesday night when Antti Raanta was knocked over by the Canucks’ Markus Granlund. During the collision, Raanta fell back and hit his head. Jim Ramsay immediately came out to check on the Rangers goalie, who like all players said he was fine. And it’s very possible he was. But too many times players have tried to believe they are fine so this year the league has taken matters into their own hands – concussion spotters.
A few shifts after play began, the concussion spotters called down to the Rangers bench and said Raanta had to come out. Even though the Rangers netminder said he was fine, the Rangers listened and at the next stoppage in play a cold Lundqvist entered the net.
“If someone is calling to tell me I need to leave the ice and I’m feeling fine, at some point you’ve got to trust the player, because I think the goalie situation is very different compared to a skater,” [said Henrik Lundqvist.]
Is the team blaming the loss on the two goals he gave up shortly after entering the game? If they are, they need to stop. The 18 skaters who weren’t cold were the reason and I honestly believe they would’ve lost that game in regulation no matter who was in net.
Personally, I am absolutely fine with this decision. When it comes to head injuries, it’s better safe than sorry. And to those who say it depends on the situation, including Henrik Lundqvist, no it doesn’t. Because in the playoffs a player is more likely to lie (which is the reason we have this new procedure in the first place).
What would happen if Raanta stayed in and then let up a goal because he wasn’t feeling 100%? Who are we blaming then? Honestly, the blame should be on the team for not putting the players’ safety first. They would be the ones sued years later when those symptoms were distrupting his way of life.
That said, I will agree with one aspect of the discussion – putting in a cold goaltender isn’t ideal. But teams’ do it all the time when a goalie gets pulled. Maybe they have a little more of an idea if another goal goes in, they’re playing but they don’t know when that is happening. The league doesn’t let them stretch or warmup then so why is this any different? It really isn’t but if allowing a goalie coming in for this situation to warmup will get players to be honest and come out, then I’m fine with that.
In the end, this is about the players’ safety. And sorry Henrik, when it comes to that, goalies aren’t different.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)