Senators players saddened, worried after Clarke MacArthur's latest concussion
Forward played only 4 games last season due to post-concussion symptoms
Teammates are reacting to Ottawa Senators forward Clarke MacArthur's latest concussion with a lot of emotion.
"He's one of my closest friends in the game of hockey, and when you see that happen, it's tough to even stand here and talk about it ... It's tough when I see a real good friend and teammate, a big part of the team, there on the ice the way that he was," defenceman Dion Phaneuf told reporters Sunday, about an hour after defenceman Patrick Sieloff hit MacArthur during a training camp scrimmage.
MacArthur was checked against the boards and dropped to the ice, stunning the crowd at the Canadian Tire Centre who had gathered for the annual Sens Fan Fest.
"First and foremost I'm worried about him, his family and his wellbeing. And I believe everyone, just from being in the room with the guys [after the scrimmage], is very concerned for him. It's a tough day for everyone in our organization, knowing what he went through and then seeing that [hit] today," Phaneuf added.
Forward Kyle Turris agreed.
"He's a good buddy of mine, and you just hope for the best. I felt for him, and it made me sick to my stomach, seeing that happen," Turris said.
"With his past ... it's a scary situation."
MacArthur also dealt with a concussion last year during the 2015-16 season, in which he missed all but four games due to post-concussion syndrome. He was given medical clearance in March and had been training since then.
MacArthur is the second Senator in three days to be diagnosed with a concussion; the team announced Saturday that forward Mark Stone has one, though general manager Pierre Dorion said Sunday he believes Stone will be back in play "very shortly."
'We're heartbroken here'
As for MacArthur, Dorion said the 31-year-old met with the team's doctors and was sent home to rest. He'll be evaluated daily.
"In Clarke's case he's had a history. We held him out last year, even though he was cleared, to make sure that he'd be OK for this camp. ... We're at a point where we're heartbroken here. It's a human being, it's his life, and that should be the biggest and foremost priority today," Dorion said.
On the ice Sunday, just moments after the hit, right winger Bobby Ryan immediately dropped his gloves and went after Sieloff. Play resumed shortly after, but right winger Chris Neil looked to settle the score on Sieloff's next shift.
Sieloff was then removed from the game as a precaution. The defenceman was acquired from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Alex Chiasson this past June and was looking to make an impression with the organization.
'Important to put things in perspective'
Head coach Guy Boucher called the on-ice reaction "normal," but added that the team now has to put the hit in perspective.
"They're people, and when you've got one of your friends ... people you care about, [suffering] through whatever, it touches you. So in that regard I think they all reacted in a way that shows how much they care about their teammate," he said.
"But after the emotion is gone, I think it's important to put things in perspective and wait and see how things are going to be managed, how he's going to feel in the next days, and then we'll move from there."
Dorion said he doesn't blame Ryan and Neil for their reactions on the ice.
"We have a lot of guys in that dressing room who care a lot about Clarke, that know what he's gone through. So the reaction from our players, I have no issues at all. I'm even applauding it. ... They're going to rally with whatever happens," he said.
Phaneuf agreed, adding that the team was "pretty shaken up."
"We're a team, and you feel when your teammates are hurt, injured. You feel that, especially a hit like that. You see it, and it affects everybody. ... We're human. We feel for guys when things like that happen and it was no different today," he said.
'The reality is ... there's contact'
But Phaneuf also sympathized with Sieloff, and said physical contact is part of the game and part of training camp.
"He doesn't feel very good. It's part of the game, and it's not a fun part of the game," Phaneuf said.
"It's training camp, and the reality is ... there's contact, there's emotion. Guys are trying to compete. Everyone's within the same organization but the bottom line is, we're hockey players and there is [competition] during camp. You never want to see something like that happen, but it does happen. It's just ... tough to see."
Forward Chris Kelly agreed.
"... Everyone's competing hard, everyone's battling hard. A lot of time you don't really know who you're up against or battling against ... I don't think anyone is out trying to intentionally injure players," Kelly said.
With files from The Canadian Press