It turns out 48 hours isn't enough time to recover from a concussion after all.
Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson has been held out of the third game of Ottawa's first round playoff series with the New York Rangers despite initial optimism after he passed a cognitive baseline test, practised with his teammates on Monday morning and reported no symptoms afterward.
Bobby Butler is expected to fill the hole in the Sens' lineup tonight, playing on a line with Nick Foligno and Kyle Turris.
Many concussion doctors suggest at least a week of symptom-free rest before players return to play, and if the NHL leaves such things up to individual teams, the Senators are clearly taking a conservative approach with Alfredsson, who took a heavy hit to the head on Saturday.
So after a day of conjecture as to whether the 39-year-old Alfredsson would play - he left midway through Game 2 after being elbowed in the head by New York's Carl Hagelin - the Rangers and the NHL have their answer.
New York already knew it would be without the 23-year-old Hagelin, who was suspended for three games for the hit.
Though Rangers enforcer John Scott was on the ice for the warm-up skate, players from both teams said earlier Monday that they expect the teams to stick to hockey rather than goon tactics.
The Rangers complained of being “thoroughly perplexed” by league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan’s decision to suspend Hagelin, who hit Alfredsson’s head with a nasty elbow.
After the Senators' practice, during which the captain skated hard and moved freely, the 39-year-old couldn’t confirm he’d be in the lineup.
“I can’t answer that, we’ll see tonight,” said Alfredsson who admitted he suffered a concussion on the play.
But head coach Paul MacLean hinted that his captain could be cleared to play - provided he doesn’t begin experiencing concussion symptoms Monday afternoon.
“I know for sure he has to pass the baseline test, he’s done that and passed that,” MacLean said.
The NHL’s concussion protocol stipulates that players must undergo neurophysiological examinations and take a baseline test.
Alfredsson said he felt good on Sunday and again on Monday morning, but that he’s not keen on rushing back.
“You have to go with the flow, if it’s good, it’s good, and if it’s not, it’s not,” he said.
The Rangers were clearly unhappy with what they see as inconsistent rulings from Shanahan, who gave Ottawa’s Matt Carkner a one-game ban for instigating a fight with the Rangers’ Brian Boyle - retribution for Boyle repeatedly punching Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson in game one.
Like Karlsson, Boyle was an unwilling combatant - Ottawa can argue, however, that the one-game ban is effectively two games given Carkner was ejected early in the first period.
Shanahan was on a New York radio show Monday morning and indicated he was aware that Alfredsson might return as soon as Game 3 - and that the Senators had told him Alfredsson could be out "for a day or for a year," he also said the injury to the Ottawa captain was a factor in his decision.
“The biggest difference [between Carkner and Hagelin]is there is a head injury and concussion on one and no injury on the other,” Shanahan told WFAN.