Cats on the Prowl learned on Saturday that defenseman Aaron Ekblad could miss 1-2 weeks after a vicious check by Edmonton’s Matt Hendricks on January 10th.
A source told Cats on the Prowl that Ekblad is going through the concussion protocol, although it’s unclear whether that’s the result of him sustaining a concussion or solely for precautionary purposes. Matt Hendricks was suspended 3 games by the NHL for boarding the 19-year old defenseman (seen below) and will play in his first game since the incident on Monday when the Panthers and Oilers meet again.
He appeared dizzy when he tried to get up at first, and after spending a short amount of time in the locker room, he returned to the ice and finished the game. Concussion symptoms can take time to manifest which could explain why he missed the next two games, although again, we are not confirming that he has suffered a concussion.
Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel and George Richards of the Miami Herald both reported that Ekblad skated and shot pucks briefly before the Panthers practiced on Saturday, however he did not take part in further activities. Head coach Gerard Gallant told the media on Saturday that the defenseman will miss Sunday’s game against the Lightning and Monday’s game against the Oilers, but he could return on Friday, January 22nd against the Blackhawks.
Ekblad has suffered a concussion before in his career when he took a check to the head during Team Canada’s summer development camp in August of 2014, however he made a full recovery and went on to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.
Ekblad has 9 goals and 10 assists in 42 games this season, and the Panthers have lost both games he has missed including the one on 1/11 which ended the team’s franchise record win streak at 12.