Oilers’ Kassian undergoing tests following fall during fight
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

It was an ugly, somewhat unnecessary freak incident that took place on Thursday night as Edmonton Oilers’ forward Zack Kassian fell to the ice during a fight with Zack MacEwen. The gritty winger laid motionless on the ice for a few seconds before finally getting to his knees and skating off with the assistance of trainers and players. It wasn’t immediately clear what the status of Kassian was, but it was evident that players on the ice were immediately concerned when he smacked his head hard.

Head coach Dave Tippett said after the game, “He’s got a pretty good bump on his head from hitting the ice but he was in good spirits and was telling jokes when I came and saw him after the game.” 

Others added that Kassian was more than coherent, but the team would get more tests done to make sure there wasn’t something bigger to be concerned about.

Mike Smith noted that he was hoping Kassian was okay and said, “I chatted with him briefly. You never want to see that happen to anyone, let alone one of your friends and teammates. Obviously a scary situation, but he seems to be in good spirits.” He added, “Hopefully he has as hard a head as it looks.”

Players from the Vancouver Canucks were concerned as well.“It’s scary, it’s terrible, it’s not cool,” said Quinn Hughes of when speaking about the injury. “It probably didn’t need to happen.” Former teammate Alex Chiasson was clearly choked up when talking with the media after the game.

Was This Necessary?

It’s not entirely clear why the fight happened. Some believe it came after Mike Smith was crowded in his crease and visibly upset with MacEwan for taking what appeared to be a light jab at the goaltender. Others thought it might have been MacEwan trying to make an impression. Either way, Kassian was happy to oblige and engage in the fight as the team’s resident tough guy.

Incidents like these are why fans argue against allowing fighting in the game. There really wasn’t a need for this scrap and Kassian falling, while not an intentional play by his opponent, is the type of nasty consequence that comes from fighting on the ice and when a helmet comes off.

The best news to come out of this will be that Kassian has a bump on his head and doesn’t miss much time. He’ll certainly be sitting for precautionary reasons, but we’ll wait to hear if there are any diagnoses of a concussion.

This article first appeared on NHL Trade Talk and was syndicated with permission.

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