OK folks, so a few weeks into the season there have been some great goals, great saves and great hits. There is nothing in the world like the game of hockey. the NFL is about 1/4 speed, basketball is actually a tall mans version of soccer, and baseball is at its core is about individual achievement (pitcher vs hitter). But the one thing that stands out is the rash of dirty, late, and just ill intentioned hits.
So what can the NHL do about it? Well in an article by SI.com's Darren Elliothe seems to point towards the NHLPA's unwillingness to bend on mandating shoulder pads and elbow pads no longer having the hard plastic end caps on them. Now for those of you folks who haven't played a competitive game, let me just let the cat out of the bag. ITS NOT THE BLASTED PLASTIC CAPS YOU DOLT!
Honestly my jaw hit the floor when i read this and thought to myself "what is this guy smoking because i want some too". But this article did serve a purpose, and i think that it was intended to get everyone thinking about what the NHL should do to prevent hits like
Now look, i have been and always will be a proponent of the "don't skate with your head down" mentality. but with that being said i think its safe to say something has to be done about the "grey area" that exists. It is just mind boggling to me that the NHL in all its wisdom (oxymoron kinda like military intelligence) established what a low hit is, established that going knee to knee is no good, but has as of yet established anything about head shots. Does anyone else find this fascinating? Seriously watching and listening to some of the explanations about why head shots aren't considered is amazing. "You should never skate with your head down". That mind set allows the hitter to do hist work with out any consideration of the consequences. "He had his head down, so i tried to separate it from his neck". Thats what you saw with the richards hit, it really doesnt matter if you look at it in slow mo, super slow mo, or doppler radar homer vision, at full speed he targeted his head. Same think with Panuef. meanwhile, Steve ott literally tried to seperate a guys legs from his hips.
Look, the bottom line is that all the other sports have measure to protect the players. No more helmet contact, no more horse collars, no more shots to the head, no more late hits on the qb. You plunk a guy in baseball, you better be read to get a fastball in the ear hole. So the question is not if, but when.....
When someone gets killed, will the nhl do something then? It nearly happened in the ohl. Lets stop beating around the bush here. You hit someone in the head, your suspended for 25 games. You board some one, 25 games, and if someone is injured because of your illegal hit, 35 games plus 1 game for each game that player misses. you end his career, you just ended yours.