The first suggestion from this week's NHL GM meetings will go into effect sooner rather than later. Like, much sooner.
The new concussion protocol discussed by the GM's over the course of the week and outlined as part of Gary Bettman's "Five Point Plan for Player Safety" will go into effect beginning with Wednesday night's game action. David Poile of the Nashville Predators made the announcement from Boca Raton, Fla.
The new protocol forces players who have suffered what's suspected to be a concussion during a game to head back to the locker room for 15 minutes while they're checked out by a team doctor.
League VP of Hockey Ops Colin Campbell admitted that all the details aren't exactly worked out yet -- so yeah, perfect time to implement it, right? As quoted by Yahoo! Sports:
"Yeah, they're still working on the protocol, but it does take effect and the loose ends are being tied up. It's a pretty tough protocol to deal with. What is deemed a concussion? I don't want to go there yet. We're still trying to nail it down."
There are a lot of questions here.
First off, how is it determined that a player suffered a concussion, or that a player is "suspected" of having suffered a concussion? Who makes the call? What is that call based off of? And how long does it take before a team complains about that call not being fair?
Secondly, since most team's don't take their doctors with them on the road, what happens in the playoffs when the Canucks team doctor tells Joe Thornton of the Sharks he can't finish the game because he has concussion symptoms, and then it turns out that he was fine? That's just a whole mess waiting to happen, isn't it?
It seems as though this protocol is a good step, but that we should be nailing down all of the details and answering all of the questions before actually putting it into effect in a real, live NHL game.