Even during training camp, things can get heated as bubble players compete for a roster shot.
At Ottawa Senators camp, defenseman Patrick Sieloff – who was acquired in the offseason for Alex Chiasson – made contact with the head of Clarke MacArthur in a play along the boards.
MacArthur immediately went to the ice clutching his head.
Bobby Ryan, who is not known for being much of a fighter, went directly after Sieloff. The officials struggled to break the two of them up. Minutes later, Chris Neil came over to exchange words with Sieloff.
MacArthur was able to make if off the ice with the help of teammates.
Clarke MacArthur needing help off the ice after a big hit from Patrick Sieloff. pic.twitter.com/O3R4UsZYRu
— Brent Wallace (@tsn_wally) September 25, 2016
Senators GM Pierre Dorian addressed the media at the end of practice.
#Sens GM Pierre Dorion has disclosed that Clarke MacArthur has been diagnosed with a concussion. His progress will be evaluated daily.
— Sens communications (@Media_Sens) September 25, 2016
MacArthur has a concussion. He has been sent home to rest. “He is such a big part of our team,” says Dorion. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) September 25, 2016
The 31-year-old MacArthur has missed chunks of his career due to concussions.
Prior to today’s injury, MacArthur sustained a concussion against Columbus on October 14. He wasn’t medically cleared to play again until the following March. With the Senators out of the playoffs at that point, the team decided to shut him down for the season in an effort to give him the most time to heal. In total, he missed 78 games.
In a March 2016 interview, MacArthur opened up about his recovery and how he thought it might be the end of his career. From Ken Warren of the Ottawa Sun:
“At one point in late November, early December, I was thinking I was done, maybe this is it,” [MacArthur] said. “I had to get out of there. Every day you’re coming to the rink and you want to go on the ice. It’s like going to Disneyland. Everyone else goes on the rides and you’re outside the doors, watching.”
He turned off hockey completely, returning to his summer home in Rochester, N.Y., for two weeks. He received well wishes and advice from Ryane Clowe, the 10-year NHL veteran who officially retired due to concussions last September. He also found some bigger-picture perspective in talking to his parents. His mother, Deb, is a breast cancer survivor. His father, Dean, survived prostate cancer.
He then returned to Ann Arbor for three days of intensive tests. Doctors inserted a “nerve block” — a long needle — above his left eye, isolating the nerves that were believed to be causing the pain. The headache situation improved. Hope returned.
MacArthur began running again. When he stepped back on the ice in for the first time on Jan. 7, he let the world know about his excitement, posting a picture on Twitter.
Not so fast.
“I did a couple of laps, it felt all right, but that’s when we found out I had vertigo,” he said. “It was like a whole new start again. I had no balance. When I went backwards, it was like I was floating around. I didn’t have a clue where I was, so I battled with that for (more than) a month.”
Three days later in Calgary, MacArthur confidently predicted he would return either March 1 or March 3. All that was left was to check off in his five-month rehabilitation was passing the concussion baseline test, proving everything was at the same level as it was in September.
Welcome to yet another crushing blow. He didn’t pass. “I did really well, but all my scores have been really high,” he said. “I did so well on that first one (at training camp) that it kind of duped me a little bit.”
An additional three weeks were required before re-taking the test, which brought us to last week. MacArthur finally did pass the test on Wednesday, but by then all hopes of making the playoffs were gone. By Saturday, it was deemed that the risk of playing in essentially meaningless games outweighed the reward.
With that, MacArthur’s ideal plan of going into the summer with games behind him never happened, but that, too, is in keeping with a Senators season where nothing went according to plan.
At the same time, MacArthur is a long way from where he once was, now full of confidence that he will be back playing next season.
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