MONTREAL – Players in both dressing rooms showed great concern for the health of Montreal Canadiens forward George Parros after he left the ice on a stretcher Tuesday night at 2:34 of the third period after slamming the ice hard during a fight with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Colton Orr.
Parros was taken to hospital for further testing and the Canadiens announced he sustained a concussion, but was alert and conscious before he left Bell Centre, where the Maple Leafs earned a 4-3 victory.
As Orr was falling, he had a hold of Parros' jersey, sending the latter tumbling down and causing him to land on the ice face first. He remained completely motionless as Orr called to the Canadiens' bench for the training staff.
"It's just bad luck in that situation," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "You don't see those things often. He fell, and he fell on his face, on his chin. But I heard he was alert when he got to the dressing room, so that's a good thing."
A similar situation occurred in 2011 when Parros, then playing for current Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle with the Anaheim Ducks, got into a fight with Orr, except that time the roles were reversed. It was Orr who fell to the ice and hit his head, sustaining a concussion that would end his season.
"It was kind of déjà vu because when I was in Anaheim, George fought Colton Orr and the same event happened," Carlyle said. "It put Colton Orr out for a number of months, and it was the same type of thing. It wasn't a punch, it was when the guy fell down and unfortunately hit his chin and face on the ice. It's unfortunate, those are tough things."
Orr immediately called to the Canadiens bench for help as soon as he saw Parros on the ice, and though he didn't particularly want to talk too much about when the same thing happened to him, he summed it up rather succinctly.
"It's scary," Orr said. "The ice isn't going to give."
The incident put a pall over what had been a festive atmosphere at Bell Centre as the crowd stood and watched the Canadiens medical personnel tend to Parros. The players were quite affected by what they saw as well.
"I was scared, obviously," said Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer, who was a few feet from the fight. "That's the [unfortunate] part of the game right there, when guys get hurt and possibly seriously hurt. I heard from some of the guys that he was talking and he was coherent, so that's good. But that's a real [unfortunate] part of the game; you don't want to see guys get hurt like that. Those guys go out there and fight, they've got a ton of heart and a ton of soul and they really do a lot for your team. That's probably the toughest job in all of sports, so there's a ton of respect for those guys."
The game was interrupted at least 10 minutes while Parros lay on the ice, and once play resumed the players appeared to need some time to get back into the game. The emotion did eventually get back up, with Mark Fraser trying to fight Brandon Prust and Lars Eller scoring his second goal of the game to bring the Canadiens to within a goal, leading to a wild flurry at the end.
"Whether it happens to your team or the other team it makes no difference, that's not fun to see. It's always tough to come back and play after an incident like that," Canadiens forward Daniel Brière said. "There are things sometimes that are more important than this game we play."