Hockey’s a tough old sport, but being blindsided by one of your own line-mates is something simply far out of the ordinary.
One month has passed since Matt Reber and Kyle Horne collided at full steam, leaving both men down on the ice needing treatment.
In the dressing-room after that incident in the game against Sheffield Steelers on September 13, Horne sported an egg sized lump below his eye, while Reber sat dazed on a seat outside the coach’s office, one step removed from the hurly burly as sticks were thrown into kit bags, players warmed down and the media swarmed in.
It’s been a long long month for both players - but they finally made their returns over the weekend.
For Reber, it was just good to lace up his skates and get back to playing against Braehead on Friday night, and scoring his first goal against Nottingham on Sunday.
‘‘I was glad to get the first one over with,” he said. ‘‘I felt I was maybe a bit hesitant and behind the play at certain points of the game - it’s up to me to get back to match sharpness.
“You can practice all you want, but it isn’t the same as being in game shape.’’
The return to full recovery after concussion can be frustrating. It takes whatever time is necessary - something Reber accepts.
‘‘If you’d asked me at the time of the collision who came off worse, I’d have said Kyle. He was pretty badly hurt - but then I thought it was me!
‘‘As we were going through the same situation we saw the doc together - it was good to be able to speak to someone else about how you were feeling who was in the same boat.
‘‘It can be frustrating, but you have to be careful with concussion.
“In the last few years teams have woken up to the impact it has on guys - and that’s how it should be.
‘‘If you have a broken arm or leg, or have hurt yourself then you know the time out is finite and it will heal.
“With concussion you have to be careful - you only have one head!’’
Reber marked his return with a typically hard working, free-skating performance which saw him take the MoM award - a bitter-sweet honour given the defeat at the hands of their great rivals.
He carved out a couple of great chances, including one which saw him dance through the the Clan defence only to run out of ice befor getting his shot away.
‘‘I tried to out-wait the goalie - but he did the same and stayed with me,’’ he said. ‘’It was good to play with Ned and Scott - I thought they played really well. It was the first full game we have played as a line but it’s going well in practice.’’
Head coach Todd Dutiaume had no doubt about the impact Reber had on his return to the second line.
Picking up on the chances he created he said: ‘‘When he has the puck and goes through the zone he finds seams other guys don’t.’’
With the all-clear from the docs and a weekend of hockey under his belt, the winger from Edina, Minneapolis, can look forward to getting back into his familiar hockey routine.
‘‘I guess three games in three days was not the ideal way to come back, but it’s all about getting back into game shape’’