A mere minutes into the game and 21,273 fans buzzing in Bell Centre, Kent Huskins remembers curling around the Flyers’ net and finding a teammate along the boards.
He made the pass. And everything went black.
“I remember making the pass,” Huskins said. “Everything got pretty fuzzy from there.”
Huskins said he was knocked out cold by Ryan White’s elbow. White was suspended five games for the dirty hit, the most games allowed by the NHL without the ability for an appeal from the NHL’s Players Association. (Video of the hit is below)
Huskins, 33, skated in his first practice with the Flyers on Monday since that hit one week ago. He was diagnosed with a concussion, which is automatic if a player loses consciousness - even momentarily. He skated by himself for 20 minutes on Sunday to test his head.
“I needed some help getting off the ice,” Huskins said. “I feel pretty good. I have no headaches. I felt a little off the last few days. I’ve been lucky. Right away, in the test room, I started to feel with it again.”
This is Huskins’ third diagnosed concussion of his 318-game NHL career. He said he suffered one 10 years ago and another two and a half years ago.
The timing of it couldn’t be worse for Huskins. He was acquired, essentially for free, from Detroit on March 30. The Flyers would have needed to send Detroit a 7th round pick if they made the playoffs or if he signs in Philadelphia before Oct. 1.
Huskins is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Given his cost, Huskins was actually a pretty efficient defender during his eight games with the team. He certainly didn’t hurt the Flyers and brought a certain amount of poise to the blue line.
The Flyers have not had any discussions with his agent on a possible extension, Huskins said. With only three games left before a long summer, Huskins would like one more shot to win another contract.
There is a “definite chance” he plays in one of the remaining three games (Tuesday vs. Boston, Thursday vs. the Islanders or Saturday in Ottawa) - but he also needs to walk that concussion tightrope that so many seem to struggle to find balance on.
“As players, you never like missing games,” Huskins said. “It’s disappointing. With this type of injury, you want to wait and see and make sure you take the precautionary measures. There is an urgency to play because that’s what we do. You don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize your long-term health.”
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