The Dallas Stars are only down by one goal against the Los Angeles Kings after two periods Thursday night – but they may be down forward Patrick Sharp, as well.
Sharp, who played 6:56 minutes of ice time through the first period and a half against the Kings on Thursday, hit his head on the boards during a legal check from Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb in the second period. He left the game to undergo concussion protocol, and has yet to return by the end of the second period.
A former third round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, the 34-year-old Sharp is currently in his second season with the Stars after being dealt for cap space by the Chicago Blackhawks. The veteran forward, who has been playing in a top six role with the Central Division club since arriving there last year, has an assist through his first three games this season and recorded no points before leaving Thursday night.
It’s possible, of course, that the Stars are simply being cautious with Sharp – who was slow to get up following the hit, but managed to skate on his own for another portion of the shift before exiting the game. The league’s insistence on tightening up concussion protocol means that players who aren’t truly injured will be held out on occasion to ensure safety.
If the veteran is injured, though, that’s a tough break for Dallas heading into the 2016-17 campaign. Sharp was good for 20 goals and 55 points last season, and had two shots on goal through his ice time prior to the injury tonight; if he’s out for any period of time, that hurts the team’s offensive corps considerably.
The Stars have yet to give any updates on his injury status.