Despite being on the receiving end of what looked to be a devastating hit to the head on Thursday, defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti is expected to play against Peoria tonight.
Coach Jeff Daniels made that announcement following Friday’s optional morning skate, in which Sanguinetti did not participate. Sanguinetti, who left Thursday’s game immediately following the incident, returned quickly but then left again, was apparently experiencing some soreness but is otherwise OK to play.
“I talked to him last night and he seemed fine, and we made sure this morning that we’re all comfortable because we don’t want to put him in a position where he’s not,” said Daniels.
Given the way Sanguinetti was slow to get up following the hit from Rivermen forward Cody Beach, which was deemed to be an illegal check to the head, not to mention his eventual inability to finish the game, a concussion may have been the initial thought of many. Fortunately, it seems as though that did not occur.
“He just some stiffness that wouldn’t go away,” said Daniels of Sanguinetti staying in the locker room for the third period on Thursday.
Given that a handful of Checkers players fell victim to concussions on much more innocent looking hits than the one Beach leveled on Sanguinetti, that he’s able to play one day later should be considered extremely fortunate.
“You never know,” said Daniels. “Nowadays it doesn’t even take a big hit for someone to get hurt.”
Beach, who was making his AHL debut for Peoria on Thursday, received a match penalty on the play and is automatically suspended until the league reviews his case. He could still play tonight if the league decides to rescind that suspension, but he could just as easily miss it if the league delays its review or hands him a fixed ban.
Update: The AHL announced a two-game suspension for Beach around 4 p.m.
Daniels said that defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani, who suffered a lower-body injury in the third period of Thursday’s game, is day-to-day. Should he not be able to play tonight, which appears likely, Justin Krueger would re-enter the lineup in his place. Dan Ellis will get the start in goal, with Sean Dolan, A.J. Jenks and Justin Soryal sitting out as healthy scratches.
For tonight’s rematch against Peoria, Daniels said that he hoped to drive home a few teaching points after the morning skate to help the team improve on what he considered two subpar performances in its last two outings.
“We’ll show some video,” he said. “It’s more of a mental thing with cheating offensively. When we were playing well we were taking care of our own end first and still getting those chances, and that’s what we have to get back to. We’re getting into track meets now, and that’s not the way we want to play.”