Injury sidelines Senators' Eaves for Game 4
Injured forward Patrick Eaves will not play for the Ottawa Senators in Game 4 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday (CBC, 7 p.m. ET).
Eaves, 22, took a shoulder to the head from Penguins forward Colby Armstrong and had to be wheeled off the ice on a stretcher 9:07 into the second period of Sunday's 4-2 win at Pittsburgh.
Eaves reportedly suffered a concussion, but the Senators refused to divulge the nature of the injury.
"He is a lot better today," Senators head coach Bryan Murray told reporters Monday.
"He needs a little time, of course. A little headache, but beyond that he is OK."
Eaves controlled the puck behind the net, but he was knocked out by Armstrong when he tried to skate out front and score on a wraparound.
"He came around the net and I just tried to meet [him] at the post and make a hit," Armstrong said. "Hopefully, he's alright.
"I have to play hard and play in their face, but I didn't mean to pinpoint on his head. I tried to hit the guy."
Armstrong wasn't penalized for the hit, which Murray thought was clean.
"I do not think Colby Armstrong tried to hit Patty Eaves and knock him out in the game," Murray said. "He wanted to get a big hit on him.
"But I do think something has to be done about guys who get hit in the head, whether it is our guy getting hit in the head or otherwise."
Armstrong blindsided Letowski
Eaves is the second player to be sidelined with a head injury after being levelled by Armstrong.
Carolina Hurricanes forward Trevor Letowski was hit from behind by Armstrong in a 5-1 win last Oct. 14, and missed nine games because of a concussion.
"I don't think you can paint every hit with the same brush," Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said in Armstrong's defence. "The guys leaving their feet, that's the biggest one.
"When a guy leaves his feet, he is definitely going for the guy's head. But when a guy's bent over, facing you with his head, there's nothing else you can hit."
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman agreed.
"When a player is heading to the net with the puck and he is bent over, is the defence suppposed to just let him go in?" said Bettman during an interview with TSN. "This is a physical game, and the players do have a responsiblity to know what is going on on the ice."
"We are always concerned about things that cause undue injury to the players, that jeopardize players' safety," he continued. "But by the same token, this is a physical game where contact is encouraged.
"That's a fundamental and important part of the game and players do have a responsiblity, to an extent, to be aware of what's on around them and protect themselves."
Oleg Saprykin will replace Eaves in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series, which Ottawa leads 2-1.
With files from the Canadian Press