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Kesler feels effects from 'cheap shot' in Minnesota but will play tonight
Jason Botchford, The Province
Published: Friday, October 13, 2006

Ryan Kesler can't say definitively if he suffered a concussion, but he sure knows how he feels about the hit that left him wobbling like a first-round victim of a young Mike Tyson.

Kesler slipped Tuesday against Minnesota while skimming around the corner boards when Wild defenceman Kurtis Foster checked him hard using his gloves, driving Kesler's head and shoulder into the boards.

"I remember everything that happened and I remember it was a cheap shot," Kesler said. "It was clearly a cheap shot. Obviously, the NHL isn't going to do anything about it, so what can I do? I'll just let bygones be bygones and go out and play.

"Cheap shots are part of the game and it's part of playing hockey."

There was no penalty called on the second-period play. Kesler got up and tried to take a couple of strides after the hit before he collapsed. He needed help off the ice.

"I got to my feet and I was wobbly," Kesler said. "I've never felt like that in my life. I think a couple screws got loose, but I feel fine now."

Kesler said he took some time lying on the ice after the hit to get his stability back. After he was helped off the ice, he said he started feeling better, even to the point where he desperately wanted to get back on for the third period.

"The trainers knew better," Kesler said. "They knew the adrenaline was going and they knew it would be best for me to stay off the ice for the rest of the game and see how I was in the morning."

Kesler said he felt no concussion-like symptoms after the game or Wednesday or Thursday mornings. It means it's almost a sure bet he'll play in tonight's home opener against the San Jose Sharks.

The hallmark signs of concussions are unconsciousness, amnesia and headaches, which occur within 48 hours of the moment of impact. Kesler said he suffered none of those symptoms.

Unlike other brain abnormalities, concussions cannot be detected by CAT scans, MRIs or X-rays, so the NHL encourages teams to keep players off the ice until they regain the same level of mental skills they had before the brain injury.

Before each season, every NHL player completes a cognitive skills test that serves as a baseline for mental skills in case of concussion.

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