Photo credit: Ryan Taplin/Metro News
When Canucks prospect Alexandre Grenier signed with EC Red Bull Salzberg of the Austrian League back in late May, the Canucks were supportive of the 3rd round pick’s decision, citing the opportunity to play against grown men in Europe as a major benefit.
For Grenier, a late bloomer, the only way he’ll ever earn a full-time NHL job is if he learns to complement his skillset with his 6’5″, 200-pound frame. The trap a lot of larger prospects fall into is they come to view their size as an ability rather than a complementary asset — especially in leagues where their size makes them outliers. Then, when they get to the NHL where everyone’s huge (and Zdeno Chara exists so, really, no one is), they struggle. Grenier is less likely to fall into this trap in Austria where the men are bigger, albeit perhaps not as skilled.
But playing against grown men also has its drawbacks. They hit harder, for instance, a lesson Grenier learned the hard way last Friday.
That’s him on the receiving end of a blindside hit after taking a suicide pass from a teammate. With his head down to accept the pass, he gets absolutely run over by EHC Black Wings left winger Patrick Spannring. You hate to see a guy get spun around like that.
Spannring’s hit was reviewed by the Austrian League’s Department of Player Safety, but he wasn’t suspended.
Grenier suffered a concussion on the hit and hasn’t played since.
The check and subsequent concussion is a good example of why Mike Gillis has said that he prefers Canuck players stay home during the lockout (and the players seem to agree, as not a single one has headed overseas). Concussions are tricky to deal with in the best of times, but Gillis and company trust the doctors they have on the payroll. I’m sure they would prefer that, if brain trauma were to occur to a player in their system, they were able to oversee his care.
No such luck in this case. Here’s hoping Grenier makes a speedy recovery.Tags: Alexandre Grenier, concussion, concussions, Prospects