The 7-3 loss the Detroit Red Wings absorbed at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets during Sunday’s NHL Rookie Tournament finale took a back seat. In the forefront of every player’s mind was the condition of Red Wings defenseman Jared McIsaac.
Oft-injured Detroit defensive prospect McIsaac was hurt again. At first glance, this one looked like it would be the worst of the them all. As things turned out, the incident was far worse than the outcome.
Going into the corner to the right of the Red Wings net while pursuing a loose puck late in the first period, Columbus forward James Malatesta ended up hitting McIsaac into the boards from behind. The hit sent McIsaac’s head bouncing off the glass and he immediately slumped to the ice.
Training staffs from both teams as well as local first responders attended to the prone McIsaac. They were seen securing his neck with a brace. Moving him via back board to a waiting stretcher, McIsaac was taken by ambulance to hospital.
UPDATE: Jared McIsaac lost consciousness after a hit into the boards during the 1st period of tonight’s game against CBJ but is now awake and alert and has feeling in all his extremities. As a precautionary measure, he was transported to a local hospital for further observation.
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“Jared took a pretty significant hit in the first period and hit his head on the glass, hit his head on the ice, lost consciousness for a little bit but went to the hospital, was evaluated,” Grand Rapids Griffins coach Ben Simon explained. “He’s thankfully doing well. He’s moving his arms, he’s moving his legs, he’s coherent. And he’s talking. It’s not as bad as it initially looked.
The prognosis, though, was promising. While McIsaac did briefly lose consciousness on the ice, he regained his faculties quickly and was alert and able to move all his extremities. The hospital trip was merely a precautionary measure.
“He’s expected to be back at the hotel tonight, which is encouraging. So it’s not something where he’s going to spend time in the hospital, which is great.”
Selected 36th overall in the 2018 NHL entry draft, McIsaac underwent reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder following the 2019-20 season and was out for most of the following season. Last season, playing for HP Hameenlinna in Finland’s SM-liiga during the COVID-19 delay to the North American season, McIsaac injured his left shoulder on his first shift of the first game. He underwent reconstructive surgery on that shoulder and missed the remainder of the campaign.
While McIsaac’s injury history might seem like that old Hee Haw refrain – if it weren’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all – Simon prefers to put a positive spin on the 21-year-old defenseman’s ordeal.
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“A lot of people have put in a lot of time with Jared, and Jared himself has to his credit has worked his tail off to rehab from two significant shoulder injuries, things that can set you back,” Simon said.
Sure, McIsaac might not see it that way right now, but Simon is confident in another ancient adage – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
“You feel terrible when things like this happen to him, but knowing Jared, knowing the people around him, that he’s had the ability to work with, I think he’s mentally strong and better for it,” Simon said. “He’s got a sense about him that he’s not going to let anything stop him, so we’ll see.”
Seeing their teammate prone on the ice was a sobering experience for the young Red Wings players.
“I’m actually rooming with Jared,” forward Cross Hanas said. “We’ve had a pretty fun week together and have gotten pretty close. It was tough to see that. Even if it wasn’t one of our teammates, it’s tough to see a kid go down like that and not really know where he is and get stretchered off like that.
“It was pretty scary at the moment.”
McIsaac’s status for the Red Wings’ main camp is unknown at the present time.
“It’s day by day right now,” Simon said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow, but just make sure he’s healthy and safe for now.”