At the risk of being called a pansy, does it make any sense to have Colten Teubert watching the first day of Edmonton Oilers 2011 training camp at Rexall Place today instead of participating in it because of a meaningless fight in rookie tournament in Penticton?

The answer, of course, is it makes no sense whatsoever, but there sat Teubert alone in the stands looking plenty sour with "concussion-like symptoms" today after his scrap with Adam Polasek in a 7-2 win over a group of Vancouver Canucks prospects Sept. 11.

I had my suspicions Teubert was concussed the second his legs buckled from the punch thrown by Polasek — it’s a tell-tale reaction I’ve seen many times watching fisticuffs in the NHL and from the six years I covered the boxing beat at The Journal in the 1990s. Teubert got his bell rung.

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While the initial word was Teubert was being kept out of the rest of the rookie tournament because of a busted nose, I wasn’t buying it. When a player’s legs abandon him after getting hit on the button, it’s usually bad news. That "button" is connected to the brain, and when the legs buckle like that, it’s the brain’s way of saying, "I felt that."


Teubert, 21, who came to Edmonton as part of the trade that sent Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings, might be well enough in hours or days to get back in the mix. Then again, he might not. That’s how concussions, if that’s indeed the case here, work. We don’t know.

It might also simply be a case of the team taking a very cautious approach with Teubert, which is to be commended. With all the criticism levelled at the medical and training staff in recent years — think Sheldon Souray and the Colin Fraser situation etc — nobody with a lick of sense will complain about a better-safe-than-sorry approach.

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The immediate problem with Teubert sitting out is that he won’t get a chance to show where he fits in with the organizational blue line mix and that brass and fans won’t get a full look at him during camp.

The long-term? We don’t know. I don’t think it’s a stretch, though, to suggest that when a big, nasty, physical defenseman like Teubert has "concussion-like" symptoms that are enough to keep him out of action this early in his career, it’s not a good thing.

Medical people will tell you, and we’ve seen it first-hand, that there’s a cumulative effect with concussions and that the second or the third or the fourth comes more easily than the first.

I’ll resist the urge to mount the soapbox over the growing questions I have about the place of fighting in hockey, given the mounting medical evidence about how concussions impair the brain long-term, and wait and see how, and when, Teubert bounces back from this.


Jason Gregor did a stellar job documenting the first day of camp today while I was bashing off a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins piece for Canadian Press, but a few observations . . .

Nikolai Khabibulin is as upbeat as all get-out in the rink these days as he bounces around looking more like a frisky rookie than a 38-year-old coming off a lousy season and a heaps of bad publicity over his DUI. He says his back is fine and he tossed around a 40-pound medicine ball like during his post-skate workout like he meant it.

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— Some people were talking up Finn Lennart Petrell as somebody to keep an eye on going into camp, but he didn’t show me much today. I’m not sure how Petrell’s fitness testing graded out, but he looks gassed 20 seconds into a shift. Not a bad skater, but running on empty too quick.

Jim Matheson of The Journal "thinks" the Oilers might take a look at Sam Gagner on the wing to unclog a logjam of bodies in the middle. I can’t see it, but when Matty says he "thinks" something, he often knows more than he’s letting on. We’ll see.

— We’re all of one day in with the Moss Cup on deck tomorrow, but I can see the Oilers starting the season with three of the lines we saw today: Hall-Gagner-Hemsky, Smyth-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle and Eager-Belanger-Jones.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

    • justDOit

      He must not read sports blogs much.

      But I won’t complain if he performs this season. He has before (once upon a time) and now that the legal problems are behind him, maybe he can put in a good effort on 40 starts. DD can take the rest and run with it.

      It just might work, but then again, that comes with the excitement of camp and preseason – wondering what may be.

  • Toro

    If you see those 3 lines being put together whats the other line gonna be? I think Omark Horc MPS sounds like the other line no? I can’t see lines being much different from that till RNH gets sent down after 9, and I think Lander would be better then Brule when that time comes

  • paul wodehouse

    Toro “…Hall-Gagner-Hemsky, Smyth-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle and Eager-Belanger-Jones…”

    No Horcoff Omark and MPS…he knows more but he’s not letting on . . .

    interesting that you say RNH down after 9…is there a club formed up? is there a t-shirt yet?
    how does this club handle the negative publicity if there is any and the fallout if there is any …how much will it piss off RNH if it happens…is it bad sports karma…again

  • ButtermilkBiscuitsAKAoilers2k10

    I especially find it funny how the refs all give the players plenty of space when a fights about to take place..even removing their sticks and gloves from the ice as the fight starts..then the second the two combatants start trading blows they look for every chance to jump in and stop it..its pathetic..fighting in hockey is for the most part so flippin useless..
    Sure there are times when two players will go..let em go..but I agree with Brownlee on the Jason Gregor show, this pre-arranged crap that has nothing to do with the game is complete nonsense.

  • YFC Prez

    Seems to me Tuebert sitting out as one of the highly regarded prospects in the Oilers system due to a meaningless fight in a game where the outcome was so clearly decided just adds fuel to the fighting debate. Im still very wish washy on this but the small bit of entertainment I get from fighting in the game does not nearly make up for all the injuries and interuption to the game play. I for one can understand why fans still want to see fighting in the game but the pro fighting side is losing ground fast. Time for a new argument other than “it’s a part of the game” or “don’t be a pansy this is the way it’s always been”.I would have really like to see Tuebert in main camp…not is that stupid fight.

    • ButtermilkBiscuitsAKAoilers2k10

      At the very least, he’s a prospect the team would like to have had contesting his place in the mix. Part of the Penner trade, former first-rounder etc etc.

      One short stretch out at one camp doesn’t mean Teubert won’t figure in the plans at some point, but this retards the process.

      Teubert might be back in a day or two. Might not be. We don’t know. That’s the problem.

  • striatic

    i’ll second that.

    fighting is entertaining but too many players end up with injuries that are too serious to ignore.

    should there be no fighting in hockey whatsoever? maybe. should there be fewer fights? probably. fewer unnecessary pre-arranged shenanigans as were abundant in that Rookie Camp? certainly.

  • The Farmer

    It is funny how fighting, or the idea of fighting has changed over the past couple of years. I know for me whenever I see a fight break out now all I can think is. ” I wonder who will get a concussion this time ” rather than I hope our guy smokes their guy. If fighting was removed from the game to at least a small extent, it would actually bring a little excitement to when a fight did break out. Think about it, whenever a fight breaks out in the MLB or NFL or NBA it’s highlight of the night. How often do hockey scraps ever even make the highlight package anymore

    • OutDoorRink

      Sounds like a reasonable place to start.

      And, if you start implementing supplemental discipline for fighting game misconducts after, say, five of them, you’re not going to be unduly punishing guys like Iginla or whoever who only fight once in a awhile in the heat of the moment. The supplemental stuff will only hit the “designated enforcers” hard, and a lot of their act is the staged stuff that’s on its way out anyway.

  • OutDoorRink

    The fighting question is a tough one for hockey fans. I used to be dead set against stopping fighting, however, as stated above, I now just wonder who is going to get hurt, and how serious it is going to be.

    Anything to stop the growing number of concussions is worth it.

  • OutDoorRink

    /I’ll resist the urge to mount the soapbox over the growing questions I have about the place of fighting in hockey, given the mounting medical evidence about how concussions impair the brain long-term/

    Wow, Brownlee and I in Absolute agreement on something.

    /wanders through the rain

    //steps into puddle of cats and dogs

  • shau_co

    Wow, how times change. Even just a year ago even mentioning taking fighting out of the game would have got you called a panzee.
    Now even mainstream writers like Brownlee are mentioning the possibility.
    What a change in outlook.
    Time to take hockey mainstream. Fighting isnt a part of the NBA, NFL or MLB. Sure, a slap fight happens twice a year, but it’s not a documented part of those games because they are mainstream. Kids watch them.

  • shau_co

    I wonder what this means regarding Omark, Pajaarvi and Horcoff…

    Am I reading into it too much or does RB think there is a trade coming? Aside form injury, I just don’t see how any one of those three aren’t in the lineup otherwise…