Edmonton Oilers’ Zack Kassian is cleared to return to play but he is the actions that lead to his concussion – fighting. A week ago, Kassian fell during a fight and was knocked out after his head slammed off the ice. It was a frightening scene to see a tough guy who knows how to handle himself lay motionless on the ice.
“I feel good,” said the 30-year-old on Friday while talking to reporters for the first time since the incident. “I remember everything until I hit the ice. I remember falling and having an ‘uh-oh’ moment.” The ‘uh-oh’ moment was because his helmet came off during a fight with the Vancouver Canucks’ Zack MacEwen. As he was falling, it was clear his head was going to hit the ice. MacEwen immediately started waving to the Oilers medical staff to help Kassian, “then I remember coming to with a lot of people around me.”
Kassian Will Keep Fighting
The event occurred during a preseason game but launched the standard regular season and an all too familiar debate about fighting in the NHL. Kassian addressed it head-on, “It’s definitely a scary incident. You lay unconscious on the ice for a few seconds, so it’s obviously tough to see. I’ve been in multiple fights before, even through my junior days, and that has never happened. It’s a fluke.” He went on to say that fighting has to remain in the NHL.
Kassian was a first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2009. He has 800 penalty minutes in 552 NHL games along with 1174 hits. He is expected to make his regular-season debut just in time for the Battle of Alberta. The Calgary Flames are in Edmonton on Saturday night. These rival games typically have more than a few dust-ups, and Kassian is usually involved.
Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.