Jonathan Toews on concussion awareness in NHL: 'Always room for improvement'

Paul Skrbina, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Hockey

LOS ANGELES -- Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Saturday he hadn't seen former teammate Daniel Carcillo's Twitter feed, which called out the NHL for refusing to "adequately care for humans" when it comes to concussions.

But Toews, whom Carcillo mentioned in one of his tweets Friday as having suffered multiple concussions, said he appreciates the message and gave Carcillo credit for speaking out.

"I don't know what he's been saying on Twitter, so I can't comment on that," Toews said. "But he's been great at trying to help former players who maybe struggle with those issues.

"There's always room for improvement. If guys like him are outspoken in the right way and constantly put that pressure on to make sure things are done well, some steps have been taken in the right direction."

In a series of tweets, Carcillo encouraged players to educate themselves and said the NHL is "very much a fear-based league. Walk on eggshells, don't dare ask questions and God forbid you don't agree with how you're being treated."

Carcillo also asked whether more awareness would result if players such as Toews and the Penguins' Sidney Crosby spoke up.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in an interview Friday with Sportsnet's Rob Kerr that the league doesn't "get the credit we deserve for all the things we're doing" and said the league is "trying to do the right things."

Toews acknowledged it's sometimes difficult for active players to think about the long-term effects of head injuries. But he said it's "good to deal with matters and at least learn about what's going on."

"You look out for yourself and your body and your brain," he said. "There's also that responsibility you have toward players who come after you.

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Goal or no goal? That was the question when David Kampf looked like he put the Hawks up 2-0 in the first period Saturday. Kampf's shot between Jonathan Quick's legs was ruled good by officials on the ice. Officials off the ice disagreed, saying Kampf interfered with Quick.

And Hawks coach Joel Quenneville agreed with that disagreement.

"I didn't think it was going to stand," Quenneville said. "That was the right call from what I saw. ... I think we all thought it should have come down."

Everyone except Toews, who pleaded his case on the ice with officials but declined to elaborate on the ongoing goalie-interference controversy in the league this season.

"I was arguing our cause with the officials, and their guys are kind of yelling and questioning how I could even talk about that goal," Toews said. "It's to their discretion, so you never really know what's going to happen there."

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