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“I don’t remember anything” – yet Jacob MacDonald has recovered from Dec. 12 concussion

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David Zalubowski/AP

ONTARIO, Calif. – He was just playing a puck in the early moments of the second period, in a Dec. 12 home game against the Florida Panthers – a team he once played for. It should have been just a routine exchange between him and Florida’s Ryan Lomberg. MacDonald, playing the puck, was to take a hit from Lomberg in trying to gain the puck. About 99% of the time, nothing would have happened from such an exchange.

But MacDonald, for whatever reason, kept his head down a little longer than usual for a D-man just trying to get a puck out of the zone and get off the ice so others could take their next shift. Seeing an opportunity to hit a guy who had just made himself a bit too vulnerable, Lomberg finished through with his check with more force, and that’s when things kind of went blank for MacDonald, at that time a depth defenseman on the Colorado Avalanche.

“I had no idea. I don’t remember anything in the second period,” MacDonald told Colorado Hockey Now. “I don’t remember what time it happened. The second period is a blur.”

MacDonald suffered a concussion from the hit, and would up missing some significant time. A lot of people would outraged by the hit, which would require a stretcher to get him off the ice. The next few days were a “blur”, he said.

Yet, on a recent weekend night after a Colorado Eagles win over the Ontario Reign in which MacDonald played a regular shift, the Oregon native said it was a “clean hit” by Lomberg.

“Yeah, he made contact with the chin, but the shoulder was down,” MacDonald said. “From my perspective, it’s just an unfortunate part of hockey sometimes.”

MacDonald, 29, played seven games for the Avs, rehabbed with the team after the injury, but was sent back to the Eagles when he got healthy. He has played a regular shift since with the Eagles, and been one of their best players. In 26 games for the Eagles, MacDonald has six goals and 16 points, with a plus-7.

Getting a call-up from the Avalanche won’t be easy. The Avs are stacked, with a defense getting healthier. A spot for MacDonald wouldn’t seem likely. But he’s played well enough for the Eagles to give confidence in Avs brass they wouldn’t embarrass themselves in calling him up.

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Having gone through life with a concussion, MacDonald said, “It took a few days. It’s just a really interesting thing. It’s a weird time, not really knowing what’s going on. You just try to rest and recover as bet you can. It’s a scary injury, but I’m glad to be back.”

MacDonald still figures to be one of the Avs’ first callups in case injuries to the defense occur. He has also shown he can play some forward too, so it wouldn’t be out of the question to see his name be one of the first call-ups in case injuries strike.

MacDonald, who has a well-muscled 6-foot, 205-pound frame, is a left shot. So, if either a Bo Byram or Sam Girard injury happened in the short-term, MacDonald could well get another callup. as they are both lefties.

Regardless, MacDonald says he is “grateful” for the situation he’s in. The Eagle could challenge for a Calder Cup, and MacDonald is getting a regular shift. He’s making $375,000 at the AHL level, and $750,000 at the NHL level.

He wants to get back with the Avs, but his Cornell education knows that might be a longshot at this point. One of the guys ahead of him on the depth chart, Bo Byram, just overcame his latest battle with concussions.

“We talked about it a little bit,” MacDonald said. “Everybody’s is different. It’s the same injury, but everybody’s process to go through it was different and we had a different process. Obviously, it’s something you take your time with, because it’s life. It’s not a game. Bo’s a good kid though, and we (knew) we wouldn’t see him long here.”

If MacDonald can’t play for a Stanley Cup, he thinks the Eagles can win a Calder Cup. If he can help accomplish that, it would be a great ending to what he calls “a weird year.”

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Karl Keen

Thanks for the update Dater! Macdonald has been an underrated player imo and normally/ I would be hoping he gets called up but are depth for now makes that tough. Glad he is doing well and if not with the Avs, I truly hope he gets a shot to be a regular pair with another team.

Joshua Canfield

I was going to say the exact same thing. The last two seasons, I thought he slotted in great as a #6 D-man or 4th-line winger. He’s definitely underrated. Just to note; in his 40 games with the Avs, his procession metrics are great. He sits at a 58.1% corsi while averaging around 13 minutes per game. He’s always responsible with the puck and is deceivingly quick.

Last edited 2 months ago by Joshua Canfield
Donald Victory

He’s a good bubble player who looked really god last year but did not impress Jrod.

Donald Victory

Helping…

He was just playing a puck in the early moments of the second period, in a Dec. 12 home game against the Florida Panthers – a team he once played for.

Ending a sentence in a preposition. Hmmm.

He was just playing a puck in the early moments of the second period, in a December 12 home game against the Florida Panthers – a team for whom he once played.

Marie Roberts

I was at the game and remembered the hit. After the hit the Avs players decided to hit any Panthers player. I do remember the Panthers fans yelling ‘Let’s go Panthers,’ while the medical staff was helping MacDonald. Totally classless fans. Thanks for the upload, to this day I always wondered if MacDonald remembered any of the hit.

August West

With the speed of the game and the growing concern and knowledge of brain injuries , I’m tired of the blaming the player receiving the hit with the old adages”he had his head down”, “ he was admiring his pass”, “he put himself in a vulnerable position” etc… whether hits from behind or “unintentional” head shots, the NHL needs to hold the perpetrator’s responsible with harsher penalties, fines, and suspensions.

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