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Ducks’ Jonas Hiller visits head injury specialist

Ducks’ Jonas Hiller visits head injury specialist

Anaheim Ducks Goalie Jonas Hiller

Anaheim Ducks Goalie Jonas Hiller keeps his eyes on the puck while making a high save (Scott Slingsby photo)

Anaheim No.1 Jonas Hiller still doesn’t believe he suffered a concussion when he took a shot off his mask at the All Star Game more than 10 days ago, but after head coach Randy Carlyle inadvertently let it slip he was seeing a head injury specialist in Vancouver, the Ducks goaltender at least admitted it’s a grey area.

Most injuries involving the Grey Matter are.

When Carlyle said before last Wednesday’s game that Anaheim had sent Hiller “to some specialist to peform some form of mechanical … something along the lines of chiropractic,” he probably had no idea his audience of reporters included a concussed goalie who had booked an appointment for an eerily similar sounding specialist earlier that day. And after a week of denials from the Ducks that Hiller had a concussion despite complaining of lightheadedness and fatigue, it’s interesting to note that chiropractic practice is known for its work with athletes with head injuries and concussion symptoms, in particular hockey players and including several NHLers.

Hiller confirmed that’s who he had seen to InGoal Magazine after a hard practice, looking a little stunned when asked if the manipulations included the roof of his mouth (they did). But after a week that has included baseline concussion tests, blood work and MRI scans of his neck and head, the Swiss stopper still insisted he didn’t think he had suffered a concussion.

Anaheim Ducks Goalie Jonas Hiller

Anaheim Ducks Goalie Jonas Hiller makes a pad save (Photo by Scott Slingsby)

“All tests came back with good results,” said Hiller, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday retroactive to last Thursday. “It helped us mentally to know you can rule that out. It’s something else. It’s not 100 per cent but I don’t have to think about it’s something in my brain. What exactly it came from I don’t know. Sure I got hit at the All Star Game but I didn’t feel anything the next two days. It probably came all together with lots of flying, lots of travel and time change and everything, and my body just needed a rest at some point and wasn’t able to just blow it off. It’s kept me out longer than I was hoping or thought at the beginning.”

(Editor’s note/update: Hiller was taken off injured reserve and posted a 12-save shutout in his return Sunday, but placed back on IR after recurring symptoms following practice Tuesday and is expected to miss three games).

Hiller actually played last Wednesday after coming back from the All Star Game, but was pulled after giving up three goals on 10 shots in the first 11 minutes against San Jose, and kept off the ice two days later because of “fatigue” and “lightheadedness.” Whatever the reason, most important now is he felt “10 to 20 per cent” better after the first of three scheduled adjustments in Vancouver.

“I had a stiff neck and they were thinking that was pushing on my nerves and I didn’t get proper feedback from my nerves coming up to my brain, so that’s why I felt off,” Hiller said after a surprisingly long and rigorous session on the ice Wednesday.

“It definitely felt better, so it’s a step in the right direction. I’m not 100 per cent but it’s good to feel that progress.”

It’s progress he probably wouldn’t have experienced back in Carlyle’s playing days, when so little was known about head injuries.

“I told him to just stick the hair dryer in his ear and maybe blow out some of the fog,” Carlyle joked.

About The Author

Kevin Woodley

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News magazine. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and covered the 2010 Olympics for The AP.