Latest news, updates on Aleksander Barkov after exiting Game 2

On Monday night, the Panthers triumphed with a 4-1 victory over the Oilers in Game 2 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final, solidifying their lead in the series with a 2-0 scoreline.

However, amidst the jubilation, concerns arose over the well-being of their captain, Aleksander Barkov. During the third period of Monday’s clash in Sunrise, Fla., Barkov suffered a jolting blow from Oilers’ standout Leon Draisaitl, forcing an untimely exit from the game.


Barkov’s absence could potentially deal a significant blow to the Panthers’ playoff aspirations. Renowned for his defensive prowess, Barkov’s contributions have been instrumental in Florida’s successful campaign this season. His stellar performance earned him the prestigious 2024 Selke Trophy, recognizing him as the league’s premier defensive forward. Throughout the playoffs, Barkov has been entrusted with the formidable task of neutralizing the opposition’s top threats, a role he has executed with finesse. Notably, in the Stanley Cup Final thus far, Barkov’s defensive efforts have limited Connor McDavid, one of the league’s most prolific scorers, to a lone assist. With six goals and 19 points to his name across 19 playoff appearances, Barkov’s impact on the ice has been undeniable.

As the series transitions to Edmonton for the next two games, the Panthers carry their 2-0 lead with them. With Game 3 slated for Thursday, the spotlight now shifts to Barkov’s recovery and the Panthers’ ability to maintain their momentum in pursuit of hockey’s ultimate prize.


Aleksander Barkov injury update

In Game 2 of the Panthers versus Oilers matchup, Barkov’s departure with 9:28 left in the third period sent ripples of concern through the stadium after a forceful hit from Draisaitl.

As Barkov maintained control of the puck along the boards, Draisaitl surged forward, opting for a high hit rather than a conventional shoulder-to-shoulder check. The impact saw Draisaitl’s elbow connect squarely with Barkov’s jaw, sending the Panthers’ captain crashing to the ice.

Down but not out, Barkov received attention from the team’s trainer before being assisted off the ice and disappearing into the tunnel. Meanwhile, the officials reviewed the contentious play, deeming Draisaitl’s action worthy of a two-minute minor penalty for roughing.

In an unfortunate turn for the Oilers, the Panthers capitalized on the power play, with Evan Rodrigues netting his second goal of the game to extend Florida’s lead to 3-1.

Despite the hopes of fans, Barkov failed to make a return to the ice for the remainder of the game. The extent of his injury remains shrouded in uncertainty, prompting speculation, particularly concerning the potential for a concussion given the nature of the hit.

Post-game, Panthers head coach Paul Maurice remained tight-lipped regarding Barkov’s condition, offering no substantial updates. When pressed about Draisaitl’s hit, Maurice delivered a characteristically blunt response, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation.

“In moments like these, it’s not about feelings,” Maurice retorted. “My priority lies in the well-being of my players.”

While Maurice refrained from explicitly stating Barkov’s inability to return due to injury, his acknowledgment that Barkov’s absence wasn’t by choice underscored the severity of the situation.

“With crucial minutes left on the clock and a tight scoreline, I wasn’t about to hold him back,” Maurice asserted, highlighting the pivotal juncture of the game and the team’s need for all hands on deck.


How does the NHL concussion protocol work?

In the NHL, stringent protocols are in place to safeguard players from head trauma, with Part III specifically focusing on the mandatory removal of a player for immediate evaluation if a concussion is suspected.

Concussion spotters vigilantly observe gameplay, swiftly identifying signs indicative of potential head injuries. These include instances where a player lies motionless on the ice, exhibits motor incoordination or balance issues, displays a blank or vacant expression, or is slow to rise following contact to the head or upper torso, be it from a collision, impact with the ice surface, or a direct blow.

Once flagged by a spotter, the player undergoes evaluation by the club physician and/or athletic trainer. If the club physician confirms loss of consciousness or ataxia resulting from a blow to the head, a concussion diagnosis is made. However, if such symptoms are attributed to other factors, the reasons are meticulously recorded for documentation.

The evaluation process is pivotal, determining whether the player is diagnosed with a concussion or deemed fit to return to play, thereby ensuring the safety and well-being of NHL athletes.