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Maple Leafs: top prospect suffers concussion after heavy body check
Across the NHL, teams have been holding their respective development camps since the start of the week. We saw it in Montreal at the start of this week, but other teams have yet to end theirs.

Among them are the Toronto Maple Leafs, who held an intra-squad game today. Among the top prospects in attendance was Roni Hirvonen, arguably the team’s best prospect right now.

However, during the game, Hirvonen tried to enter the opposing zone, but defenseman Nolan Dillingham had other plans: he served him a major-league check, and he didn’t miss.

Hirvonen lay on the ice afterwards, but the good news is that he was able to leave (with the help of the team’s medical staff).

In the end, Hirvonen was diagnosed with a concussion, as Hayley Wickenheiser reported. We suspected this from his physical reaction on the ice (seeing him with one arm in the air represents fencing, a reaction often seen following a concussion-inducing shock), but it was confirmed.

He’ll need some time to recover,” says Wickenheiser. The good news, however, is that he was seen walking a bit after the incident.

That said, even if the organization calls it a clean check, I can’t help but find it a bit ordinary to go for such a shoulder tap in an intra-squad match. Sure, Dillingham (who’s invited to the camp as an autonomous player) is looking for points, but is this really the best way to demonstrate his physical game to a team?

And I’d say the same thing even if Hirvonen wasn’t one of the club’s top prospects: it may be a big legal check, but you have to recognize that this might not be the time to hit so hard.

I don’t know if Dillingham earned points or not with that shoulder hit, but either way, I think it’s a real shame that a youngster like Hirvonen suffered a concussion in a development camp context. We agree that it was (very) avoidable.

In short, we wish a speedy recovery to the young Maple Leafs prospect, who was really the victim of a huge body check. It’s sad, really.

In a gust

– Obviously.

– Signing in Los Angeles.

– The Stanley Cup begins its tour in Amos.

– Good question.

– A page turns at Manchester United.

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