During an OHL game last weekend, Washington Capitals prospect Andre Burakovsky absorbed a dangerous, illegal hit from Cristiano DiGiacinto of the Windsor Spitfires. 

GIF by Ian Oland

On Friday, Burakovsky missed his first game as his Erie Otters beat the Kingston Frontenacs, 6-3. So what’s up with Andre?

Victor Fernandes of posted video of his chat with Burakovsky before the game. 

Burakovsky referred to his symptoms as “headaches and stuff” but declined to call it a concussion, saying he felt great. He termed it an “upper-body injury.” The 18-year-old also emphasized that he doesn’t want to rush himself back but will return to the ice very soon.

Here’s a transcript of his full comments:

How are you feeling?

I feel pretty good. Getting ready for game and for practice so I’m still feeling great.

Did they tell you if you have a concussion or not?

No, I just have an upper body injury and we’ll take it from there. Got some headaches and stuff so just gonna make sure I’m not going to miss a lot of games. Take it easy a couple days so I can be ready for game.

Do you feel like you’re getting better every day?

Yeah, absolutely.

When will you be back?

I don’t know. We’ll take it day-for-day. For now, getting start to train a little bit tomorrow, biking and stuff. We’ll just take it from day-to-day. We don’t rush.

A few days earlier, Fernandes tweeted that Otters coach Kris Knoblauch told him it’s not been determined if Burakovsky has a concussion.

DiGiacinto was suspended eight games by the OHL for the hit.

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  • Jack Conness

    From bad to worse for this Caps organization right now. Nothing can go our way. I hope he will be alright. I really enjoyed watching this kid in the World Juniors. He looked very impressive.

  • Rob W.

    Hits like that really annoy the hell out of me. You can play the game hard without doing that stuff. Just a complete lack of respect for another player

  • Barrett

    …and this is a perfect reason to remove the instigator rule in the NHL and allow another player to beat the snot out of the opposing player, in this case DiGiacinto, without facing additional penalties. Let the players police themselves more because all this Brendan Shanahan the disciplinarian czar BS isn’t working. The hits keep coming and players don’t care about suspended games, they care about not getting their face punched. So, let them get their face punched in, slap them with fines and longer suspensions.

  • Jim

    Hard to tell if the head was the point of contact? Really?

  • yv

    In the video, #96 clearly jumped and left his feet from ice before the impact with Bura. This is a very dangerous injury. Just published separate reports telling how bad it is when management calling concussions mild, day-to-day, like in case of Boston’s Hamilton by Julien. Also, Dan Boyle from Sharks saying now that ‘in hindsight he returned from concussion to early’. And we all know what’s happened with Orly. Bura should be double checked with real specialists before returning. Too early return, minor hit and he could be out for very, long time.

  • Fedor

    NHL and OHL have different rules. I may be wrong, but I think head hits are prohibited in any form or fashion in the OHL, like in European hockey.

  • Barrett

    Yes, really. You cannot say with 100% certainty with the camera angle shown in the video that the head was the point of contact. DiGiacinto clearly gets his left shoulder and forearms/hands into the upper chest of Burakovsky and then it looks like they knock heads and his head hits the ice as he goes down.

  • dpsisler

    Does the NHL (though this article is OHL) want to get rid of hits to the head? Simple, and player that targets an opposing player’s head then the organization forfeits a draft pick. If the hit results in a concussion, the draft pick value increases. A player that suffers a career ending concussion then the opposing team causing the concussion, or career ending injury due to Illegal hit (Bertuzzi) then the oppossing team causing the illegal hit forfeits a 1st round pick in the next year draft.

    I guarantee you that organizations will start policing its players and only signing those players that are capable of playing and not gooning it up. Thoughts (besides it never happening, but if the NHL were serious).