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High Tide Hockey: Some Things Are Just Terrifying




High Tide Hockey is a weekly column offering insights on various issues and events as well as consistent content. The writer, Arik Knapp, is a member of the USCG and currently stationed in Virginia Beach, VA.

Adrian Aucoin terrifies me. Okay, not the player himself, but the story he tells here as reported by Eric Francis. I know I got on a bit of a soapbox last week regarding suspensions and such, but this is less of a political issue regarding the league, and more of a “be terrified” issue regarding the Flames.

Concussions are hard to diagnose. They are not, however, hard to recognize. A guy gets hit in the head- he’s dizzy, he’s woozy, he’s not really responsive to external stimuli. And yet somehow two years ago, Adrian Aucoin had a few of these and was completely missed by the Calgary Flames trainer.

If you read here, you’ll note that a properly licensed athletic trainer is just as capable of recognizing concussion symptoms as a doctor. The guy goes on for a bit about how poor trainers aren’t the cause of concussions and doctors won’t fix it. That’s not my issue with the Aucoin article.

My issue is the implication that it took two players (Craig Conroy and Michael Cammalleri) to recognize the symptoms. The Flames trainer either looked at him and thought he was okay or was told to ignore the collision that caused the concussion at first.

Both of those possibilities are terrifying. To my knowledge, there has not been any turnover in the Flames medical department. I could be completely wrong, as there’s not a lot of detail on the medical personnel, but any trainer worth his salt is going to look at the player and go through the basic concussion tests. Unless they’re told to do otherwise.

And that’s what worries me. Is, or was, there an attitude amongst Flames management that said “Unless blood is pouring out his ears make him play”? Because that’s pretty awful.

Imagine if Aucoin’s condition hadn’t been caught by the esteemed Mr. Conroy. Imagine if Aucoin goes back onto the ice and just gets bumped in the head with a concussion already in place. That takes a bad thing and makes it significantly worse.

Unless the medical staff was hired from a correspondence school based out of Colombia, I highly doubt that this is on them. Given former coach Mike Keenan’s reputation (the coach at the time of this incident), it wouldn’t surprise me if he told the trainer that Aucoin was fine and to stay away.

Of course, this quote from the Eric Francis article sticks out too:

    You have a personal relationship with the trainer and they’re looking out for your best interest, but you argue with them on the bench,” he laughed.

    Whereas a doctor, it’s his livelihood. You only argue the minute he leaves.”

Give the trainers absolute medical power. Don’t let them take no from a player. And especially don’t let them take no from a coach. If the trainer sees concussion symptoms, that player needs to be off the bench and into the locker room immediately. Don’t blame trainers on this. Blame the lack of awareness by coaches or players.


  • The factoid that Ryan Lambert dug up on his What We Learned this week was amazing: Teemu Selanne was a kindergarten teacher. Just awesome.

  • Loved the bizarreness that is Cory Sarich being the only positive Flame in scoring chances against PHX the other night. Purely a statistical oddity propelled by cushy zone starts, but still entertaining.

  • The potential Vezina show down between NSH and BOS is going to be awesome. Though I hope Nashville loses.


  • More nasty hits lately. Not good. It just needs to stop.

  • Flames are theoretically going to fit under the salary cap. I’m still worried we’ll have another “OH GOD OH GOD HOW MANY PLAYERS ARE WE DRESSING TONIGHT????” end of the season though.

  • I hate the unwillingness of the league to really address headshots and dangerous hits. It’s a goddamn joke at this point. Just ridiculous.

  • It really bothers me that Hart voters don’t actually look at quality of play, but rather just gaudy stats. Looks like Sedin vs. Stamkos for the Hart. Should be Kesler vs. Toews.

  • (This will continually be posted until I don’t need to anymore) I don’t want to hear another thing about the Phoenix Coyotes. Just let the deal happen, let them stay, and call it good. Winnipeg is no better of a market, and if the Coyotes ever got the quality management and ownership to build a fanbase, they could be far more successful. If the Yotes move to Winnipeg, we’ll be hearing this exact same thing happen in 5 years and then see them move to Seattle or New Orleans or something. And so on.


After a pretty bad February, T.J. Brodie has picked up his scoring again. I’d still rather see a two way defender like Erixon on the Flames next year though.




by Arik Knapp