|Posted on August 10, 2014 at 4:40 PM|
Defenseman Aaron Ekblad - who was selected 1st overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft - was diagnosed with a concussion after getting hit in an exhibition game between Team Canada and the Czech Republic.
Don Cherry was upset about the incident, wondering why the highly-touted prospect was even playing. Over a series of tweets, Grapes voiced his displeasure. This is what he had to say:
"I'm upset watching Aaron Ekblad, the #1 draft pick, get nailed by a Czech player in a meaningless game and mini series for Team Canada. The hit was a Scott Stevens special. I ask you, why was Aaron even playing?
You know he's a lock to make the Junior Club and has a target on his back for being selected first overall in the NHL draft. Robby Fabbri, the sensation from the Memorial Cup playoffs is on crutches. Why? It doesn't make sense. Have the guys that are on the bubble play in these games. Smarten up Team Canada. The CHL and NHL are doing you a favour.
They don't have to let you have these players. What if Sam Reinhart and Connor McDavid got hurt too? Again. These guys are locks to make the team. Play the exhibition games with guys you want to see. Your star players getting hurt in a meaningless game in August does not make sense. Smarten up!"
Unfortunately, there's not even a video of the hit; emphasizing how unimportant the game actually was. In 2011, Ekblad became the first defenseman in history to be granted exceptional status by the CHL.
Video: Ekblad 2014 Draft Mic'd up Feature