As a steady rain fell at Lincoln Financial Field on the evening of Feb. 23, it was clear these weren’t the safest conditions the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers had ever played in.
As it turned out, though, it wasn’t a rain-splattered visor impeding his vision that caused an injury risk for defenseman Brian Dumoulin.
The ice quality didn’t give him any problems. He was even able to withstand a shoulder to the chest from powerful Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds.
The way Dumoulin sees it, it was the unforgiving glass at the temporary rink constructed at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles that gave him the second documented concussion of his career.
Dumoulin said it felt like his head bounced off of concrete.
“He didn’t hit me in the head. It was mostly from the … I’d say all of the concussion was really from the glass, my head hitting the glass,” Dumoulin said. “The outdoor games, it’s pretty chilly. The glass is pretty cold. Definitely didn’t help it.”
Simmonds wasn’t penalized, fined or suspended for the hit. In one sense, Dumoulin understands why. His head wasn’t the principal point of contact.
That doesn’t mean he’d go so far as it consider it a clean check, though.
“Obviously it was kind of a blindside hit,” Dumoulin said. “I was kind of in a tough spot. I couldn’t really do anything. Not a great hit to be a part of, obviously. Just trying to keep a puck in, but it is what it is. Nothing you can do about it now.”
Dumoulin took a significant step forward in his recovery Monday, joining his teammates for practice, albeit in a red, no-contact jersey. He will take it day-by-day.
“I’ve had a concussion before,” Dumoulin said. “It’s a similar process. Day by day, you kind of see how you feel each day. I’ve been feeling a lot better since last week. After the game and the following couple days, I didn’t feel great at all. It’s just good to feel good again and to be back out and skating with the team and having fun.”
Injured defenseman Kris Letang and Olli Maatta also skated Monday, taking the ice with skills coach Ty Hennes before practice started.
Letang is day to day since suffering an upper-body injury in a scuffle that followed Simmonds’ hit on Dumoulin. Maatta has been out since Feb. 11 with an apparent shoulder injury.