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Oilers’ Patrick Maroon 'doesn't get' why NHL needs concussion spotters for a 'man's game'

The Edmonton forward put his foot in his mouth twice after responding to Connor McDavid’s removal for a possible concussion.

Vancouver Canucks v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Connor McDavid isn’t the only one displeased with his removal from Sunday’s game for mandated concussion protocol. In the midst of a tight game vs. the Wild, McDavid smacked his jaw on the ice and was removed from the ice via concussion spotters, a new league mandate implemented this season.

Safe to say, he wasn’t pleased. And neither were his teammates, if Patrick Maroon’s latest comments are any indication.

Sportsnet spoke to a variety of Oilers players on the subject. Maroon’s segment is highlighted below.

“This is a man’s game,” the St. Louis Mo. native said. “People are going to get hit, get high-sticked. They’re going to go through the middle and get hit. That’s part of hockey, and that’s why we have all this gear that protects us.

“Yes, if someone gets seriously hurt, we’re concerned. But he just fell, got tripped… I just don’t get it.”

He repeated: “It’s a man’s game.”

The original comment garnered quite a negative reaction on social media, for a couple reasons. First, the sexist overtones of his comments about hockey being “a man’s game” are quite untrue. See the National Women’s Hockey League. Or the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Or the NCAA. (You can read about them on our women’s hockey blog, The Ice Garden!)

Another issue with Maroon's comments: the general mentality of the NHL player when it comes to head injuries. The league and its players pride themselves on playing through pain for a chance at a win. You even see it in the memes populated by fans.

That mentality is exactly the reason concussion spotters are needed. NHL players shouldn’t get to decide whether to leave games — or not — because sometimes that stick-it-out state of mind is detrimental to their health. Giving the spotters the decision, much like the NFL, to take players out of the game in a joint effort with the team’s medical staff is a step in the right direction in making the NHL a safer sport.

Maroon took to Twitter later in the evening to address the comments on his Sportsnet interview, in a tweet that has since been deleted.

For those unable to read the picture, here’s the text of the note:

I just want to clear about a few things on my recent interview.

First of all I’m not a sexist by any accounts. I respect women and have the upmost respect to women hockey players. I was referring to the NHL when I stated it was a “man’s game” not hockey. The NHL.

Second for all the people who are calling me (I will keep it PG) not smart. Last time I checked I play hockey, not school. No degree needed here you should try it...

Third the media quit taking this out of context. We’re the reason you have this great job. Don’t put words in my mouth you knew damn well what I was referring to.

Maroon did backtrack on the “man’s game” comment in his note, clarifying his stance that he meant the NHL.

It remains to be seen what the deletion of it from the social media will mean. In the meantime, it’s clear the effects of McDavid’s pull from the game on Sunday will be a story for a little bit longer.