Katie Strang reported that: "Nielsen day to day with concussion symptoms; Wishart and Hillen also both day to day, with shoulder injuries." Wishart and Hillen's injuries aren't worrisome (though who plays D if they're both out for Carolina is beyond me). But, this makes it clear that Nielsen has a concussion, which we feared about last night.
I'm sure most of you understand by now the danger of concussions. Sidney Crosby has been out most of the season with one, and well, I'm pretty sure the Penguins weren't holding back their most important player (and best player in the league) because he was too weak to play. Concussions are nasty stuff, and we really don't know enough about them to treat them as well as we do other injuries (and for the public to understand them). In some cases, players can shrug them off, but often times players who do so end up worse because they tried to play with the concussion.
In any event, with 4 games remaining, it's time to shut Frans Nielsen down. Frans is terrific and one of our best players, and is amazingly underrated. No one can deny this. But this season doesn't matter, and it's not worth risking Frans' health to start him for the rest of the season. Next season matters, this one's results don't.
And of course, the Isles can learn some things from playing without Frans. First they can shift Bailey up to the 2nd line, seeing how he would fit with Grabner and Okposo long term. Second, we can see how Grabner's defensive play looks without Nielsen - I think it'll still be great, but it certainly helps him to have great support from Frans in the defensive zone. This should be interesting for these four games. And of course, if we end up losing, well there's the draft pick and of course, if we lose to Carolina, the Rangers could miss the playoffs. Now that'd be awesome.
There's basically no benefit to playing Frans again this season right now and a lot of risk. Please make the smart decision Isles.