OTTAWA -- A break in the NHL's schedule hasn't come with a break from the focus on concussions.
Steven Stamkos and Claude Giroux -- two of the biggest names participating in the NHL's all-star weekend -- made an appearance at Friday's launch of the Bauer "Re-akt" helmet, which is designed to protect against rotational-force impacts. They both touched on the rash of concussions players have suffered recently.
"I think it was alarming the last year and a half the amount of concussions that are being diagnosed and the amount of time that guys are missing," said Stamkos. "Obviously, with (Sidney Crosby) and his situation, that opens up a lot more eyes as well and we talk about it more and people become more aware.
"I've really started to take an interest in knowing more about the technology and the equipment and what's the safest."
Giroux wore the "Re-akt" helmet for the final three games the Philadelphia Flyers played before the all-star break while Stamkos has so far just tried it in practice with the Tampa Bay Lightning. They'll both have it on for Sunday's all-star game at Scotiabank Place.
"It's a lot better than the helmet I had before," said Giroux. "I just feel more comfortable with it."
He missed four games earlier this season with a concussion and can sympathize with Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who remains sidelined with a head injury. His absence is notable here this weekend.
"Concussions are just the worst injury," said Giroux. "You can't really control anything after that when it happens. I think just time, it's going to help him. That's pretty much all he can do."