Hockey East Player of the Year Spencer Abbott most likely will not be available for the University of Maine Black Bears when they play defending national champion University of Minnesota-Duluth Saturday evening in the NCAA Northeast Regional. Abbott suffered a head injury during last weekend's Hockey East Tournament.
Maine head coach Tim Whitehead told reporters Tuesday that his team is planning to play without the senior left wing, even though there is a slight chance he could be cleared for play. The Biddeford Journal Tribune quoted Whitehead as saying:
“As you know, with these types of head injuries you have to be patient. It’s a delicate situation and it should be. That’s the nature of that kind of injury...We’re going to assume he’s not playing."
Abbott suffered the concussion after tripping by the boards and subsequently being hit by a Boston University defenseman during the third period of last Friday's Hockey East semifinal. Maine won the game, 5-3, but lost the next night's championship game to Boston College, 4-1.
The NCAA Tournament has adopted the same concussion management protocol as the regular season, and explicitly informs teams in tournament related paperwork that they must follow the same plan they would regarding concussions that they would during the regular season. Even if Abbott feels motivated to return to the ice because of the nature of the tournament, the NCAA expects that Maine would handle his injury like if he suffered it during the season.