December 02 2013 01:13PM
In this week’s mailbag were still talking concussions and player safety in hockey.
I'd love to read what role you think the NHLPA should have in preventing concussions, and whether or not the NHLPA is doing enough to go after cheap shot artists and head-hunters either directly or through CBA negotiations.
I think the NHLPA already has a big role in player safety. If the players want something they can push for it now. Any rule changes proposed by the league already have to be approved by the players association and the competition committee of players.
I’d say that’s a pretty big role in concussion prevention and player safety and I think that players should have a voice in it. Everyone from the league to the players want to find a way to make the game safer but want to do so without drastically changing the game.
Players are as educated now as ever and aware of the long term risks of concussions and repeated head blows. That’s why you see the new rules of today. The players and the league have taken big steps to prevent concussions by penalizing headshots.
Often lost in all this concussion talk and the nightly twitter wars or panel discussions of anti-fighting and head shots talk, is that if the players playing the game wanted hitting completely gone or fighting gone, it would probably be gone.
The majority of guys that take the ice, clearly don’t want that right now. Until they do, it should stay in the game.
CHEAPSHOT ARTISTS & HEADHUNTERS
The NHLPA has a job to represent every player. As painful as it may be when you see a player cross the line and do something incredibly stupid, the union still has to represent him.
I think those situations have been handled well. I’m not quite sure I understand the question though. I don’t know what more of a role the players association could play in those situations or CBA negotiations?
The league has set a pretty significant standard for those guys. They have been handed some lengthy suspensions and multiple times. You’ve seen them have to change the way they play or soon be out of the league.
What other measures can you take? I’ve seen things as ridiculous as “kick them out of the league, suspend them for a season”.
Sure some of these guys aren’t star players and the league has already been more aggressive in their suspensions, but what does the league do when Alex Ovechkin misplaces that shoulder?
He’s a repeat offender now. Do you have to give one of the best players in the game who is also a physical player, a ten game suspension? Then kick him out of the league?
Every player in the league plays a role or has importance on that team or dressing room even if it’s difficult for people to see past goals and assists.
If the goal here is to help limit concussions then it doesn’t matter who is injured or who delivered the hit. Everyone has the same health to worry about when they are done.
Setting a crazy precedent for the couple dumb dumbs is fine, but it could be very bad for fans if a star player crosses the line.
It will happen.
Knowing post hockey health issues some guys have, would you let your son play hockey today?
I think the game is getting a bit of a bad rap. Clearly the game is more physical than some other sports and there are some sad tales after hockey, but plenty of sports are just as dangerous or even more so.
I think often you only hear about the bad health stories because that is news. There is so much information out there that we're trying to protect everyone in our society from everything nowadays, not just hockey.
Having played, I don’t think the game is becoming more violent, quite the opposite actually. Steps are being taken in minor hockey with the removal of hitting until bantam and in professional hockey with the removal of headshots.
Fighting doesn’t even come into play at the earliest until 16 and for the most part if you don't want to fight you don't have to fight. The game is still policed first by the players. If you want to run around and hit or yap and play a chippy game you can usually expect a response.
How many fights have Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov been in in their NHL careers? If you don’t play a certain way, then you may never have to engage in it. Look no further than David Perron. Even if you are an agitator like him, rarely do you have to drop the mitts if you don’t want to. Guys are protected.
Injuries are still going to happen. There are many other dangers like the speed, sticks, boards and pucks that have always been there, but if my son wants to play hockey from sun up to sun down like many young Canadian kids, I could never stop him.
If it’s what he loved, I would only encourage him because I think the game is fine and actually only getting less violent.
It’s a new month for Streakcred. If you haven’t signed up, make sure that you do HERE. Everyone resets at the start of each month, so you are not behind.
The first place prize for December will be your choice of an autographed Steve Ott, Ladi Smid or Jordan Eberle jersey. That sounds like a pretty good Christmas present to me, and best of all it supports the Edmonton Inner City Children’s Charity.
A BIG congrats to "Mortimer Brewster" for bringing home the November Streakcred title with 16 wins.