About mid-way through Game 2 in Phoenix on Saturday night, the Coyotes were holding their collective breath.
Their starting goaltender and potential Vezina finalist Mike Smith took a shot to the head behind his own net from the Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw. The hit looked violent. Smith's equipment went flying and Smith remained down on the ice for several minutes, being tended to by the medical staff.
Surprisingly, Smith remained in the game. At the same token, Shaw was sent to the locker room with a game misconduct and a five-minute major for checking from behind. The Coyotes went on to score on that power play, giving them a 3-2 lead at the time.
But something just seems amiss about it. Either Smith was embellishing a little bit or he shouldn't have remained in the game. It's hard to believe there was a middle ground in there, especially considering he was down on the ice for so long, through the duration of a commercial break on TV.
It doesn't make the NHL's concussion protocol look very good. You'd think in a situation like that they wouldn't take any chances, unless Smith was telling the trainers he flopped.
No matter, the crisis was averted for the Coyotes, at least for now.