Readers sound off on head shots
We got a basketful of mail regarding
Okay, the commissioner didn't write us directly -- and we'll get to your comments shortly-- but he did address the subject and it wasn't any kind of Texas Two-Step.
"We want to develop a standard that is clear; that the players know what to expect; that the officials know exactly what to call," Bettman told Canada's national newspaper
"What is an otherwise normal, hard physical check where the shoulder hits the head -- is there something we can do about that when a player is vulnerable and unsuspecting?" Bettman asked. "If a player loses the puck on his stick and bends down to look for it, or turns the wrong way at the boards at the last second -- what do you do about it?"
We would argue that the NHL should craft a rule that simply doesn't allow hits to the head. The consensus among hockey administrators is that it's not that simple, especially when you're dealing with a size disparity, say a matchup along the boards between the 6-9
It seems to us that if you can enforce a high-sticking rule in a situation like that, it's not outside the realm of reason that the league can enforce one regarding an elbow or shoulder as well. Still, the NHL appears to be moving slowly forward and is said to be preparing information for the general managers to consider at their upcoming meeting in March. Bettman indicated it would be a meeting where the overall importance of the issue will not be dismissed.
"We know this is important," he said. "We are not taking it lightly. But we are trying to do this in a professional, thoughtful, workmanlike way."
Bettman isn't alone. In the wake of the two junior hockey hits we wrote about last week, Hockey Canada President
Perhaps the tide against "the let'em play" proponents, hockey's equivalent of the Flat Earth Society, is starting to turn.
In our piece last week, we outlined how hits to the head and hits from behind are impacting the game at every level and we zeroed in on two in junior hockey:
And now for your thoughts:
Good points, especially regarding the legal system. There is case law that backs up your argument, just like there was case law that "convinced" the NHL to hang safety nets around the rinks after the death of a young fan in Columbus who was hit in the head by a puck.
I don't believe he does, but I do believe
I heard that comment and it stems from a report the league did regarding overall injuries. To the best of my recollection, however, Sutter is leaving out the part about how even though it's a small number, the players who are injured in that fashion tend to be out of the lineup for a very long time. Blaming the media is a time-honored tradition in hockey, and Sutter tends to do it almost as often as he blames coaches for his team's shortcomings. Sutter,
That's why I would like to see a few enlightened owners, say