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Facial Safety in the NHL

This week's "Free Friday" submission is from KK member Christy. Christy is an avid Wings fan, has her own blog site at Behind the Jersey and is well on her way to journalistic stardom!
On February 24, 2006, a deflected puck hit American Hockey League (AHL) defenseman Jordan Smith in the eye. Surgeons were unable to save the damaged eye, which was cut, ending the defenseman’s promising career and consequently Smith now wears a prosthetic (Higgins). In addition to the eye injury, Smith also suffered multiple orbital bone fractures (Wykes). This career ending injury resulted in the AHL requiring all of its players to wear a partial visor. The National Hockey League (NHL) is now the last of the professional or junior leagues in North American to offer its players a choice in regards to whether or not they wear a partial visor. The only proven way to lower the number of serious eye and facial injuries among NHL players would be through a league-wide mandate requiring players to wear at least partial visors. With the speed and skill of the game improving every season, eye and facial injuries have become bigger problems among NHL players. Over the past six years, marquee players like Steve Yzerman, Mats Sundin, Al MacInnis, and Bryan Berard have all suffered major facial injuries while they were not wearing a visor or mask. These athletes’ injuries consisted of detached retinas, torn corneas, broken orbital bones, and a torn iris, which all can harm the athlete’s vision. The British Journal of Sports Medicine cites a case report by D S Morris reinforcing the dangers of playing hockey without facial protection: “Playing hockey with no protection carries about a seven percent risk of injury to the eye or face every season” (2). Similar results from a Mayo Clinic Study prompted the USA Hockey program to require all of its under 18 players to wear full facial protection and for its players over 18 to wear at least a half shield or visor (Aase).

Continue Reading »

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Ron Wilson “Live”


Michael Baker saw something this week that left him "literally speechless." Now, however, he can describe a moment he hopes will have a lasting impact on TV sports. "Our people were just in shock," says Baker, a coordinating producer for NHL games for the Versus channel. "In my 25 years of working in TV, I never thought I'd say my jaw dropped." Here's what happened: An NHL coach — the San Jose Sharks' Ron Wilson — did a live on-air interview in the middle of a game at the Florida Panthers in what Baker presumes was a TV hockey first.
more Watch the Wilson interview...

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Looking At Yawney

from Bob Foltman of the Chicago Tribune,

With a playoff hopes fading rapidly with each loss, and with the return of sniper Martin Havlat still far off, will the Hawks attempt to salvage the season with a change of coaches? That's the question club executives and perhaps the 23 players in the dressing room may be pondering with so much time on their hands. Whether all the Hawks' ills can be blamed on Yawney can be debated and an argument can be made that the front office deserves at least an equal share of the guilt. When things go like they have been going, however, the first head to roll is almost always is the one the whistle is hanging from.

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Neil Smith Pays Philly A Visit

from the Philadelphia Daily News,

Last night, Neil Smith sauntered into the Wachovia Center press box, a recent escapee from the broadcast booth, now employed as a Dallas Stars scout. That's former NHL general manager Neil Smith to you. Formerly of the Rangers, most recently of the Islanders. Looking to get back to what he feels he does best: run a hockey team. "I'm not going to lie," he said. "I'm happy doing this, but when the time is right, I hope someone thinks of me that way."
read on

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Throw A Name Out…

...see if it sticks... from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

The Flyers' multifaceted experiments on defense from last summer have been shelved. Two weeks ago, the Flyers waived Nolan Baumgartner, who was supposed to be their answer for a puck-skating defenseman. Yesterday, the backup plan also failed. The Flyers sent Swedish prospect Lars Jonsson back to the Phantoms with fellow rookie Alexandre Picard.
Now the trade talk...
A real possibility is Calgary's Roman Hamrlik. The Flames, whose scouts have been around the Flyers lately, are looking to make a deal. Detroit is looking to move Andreas Lilja, but he is not very mobile. The guy who took his job, Brett Lebda, is mobile.Mathieu Schneider is 37, but he would be a huge upgrade for the Flyers.
read on

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Popular Hats

from the Chronicle Herald,

The Bud Light promotion, which runs to the end of the month or as long as supplies last, offers a vintage hat in each case of 24. There are 23 different hats and, in an apparent bid to collect a complete set, some people are tearing beer boxes open looking for a desired hat. This has made for quite a mess at some outlets, where staff are repairing torn cases with tape and returning them to the retail floor, only to see them soon reduced again to tatters. There have also been reports of people removing hats from the cases and leaving the store without making a purchase. "There have been some situations in stores where people insisted they were entitled to a hat without making a purchase," said Mr. Perkins.

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Foote Eager For Return To Playoffs

Via the Rocky Mountain News,

Foote, who wears the "C" as Blue Jackets captain, is one of three players on the team to have won a Stanley Cup. The others are former Detroit Red Wings rival Sergei Fedorov and Fredrik Modin, who won a championship with the Tampa Bay Lightning. "Colorado was special," Foote said. "We were lucky."
Hey...he said it, not me. Continue reading

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Bolt GM: Blame Players, Not Coaches

Via the St. Petersburg Times,

Feaster reiterated the importance of the current four-game road trip in determining if player moves, and perhaps cutting payroll, will be needed. And he dismissed Tortorella's comment that in his fourth full season his voice sometimes falls on "deaf ears." "Then we ought to get the deaf and dumb out," Feaster said. "If that's the case, I wish they'd identify themselves to me and let me move them on. I'd rather see them gone than a hell of a good coach.
Read more

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Brutal Night For Flyers

Jeff Carter and Randy Robitaille each went down with ankle injuries. Peter Forsberg got tossed then pouted his way past reporters. Oh...and the Flyers got spanked. Not the best night in Philly. But, hey, they're still thinking playoffs. Philadelphia joined Minnesota as the second team in two days to institute an April-like code of silence regarding injuries.

Meanwhile, a new injury policy is in place under the regime of interim general manager Paul Holmgren: secrecy. Late in the second period, the club informed reporters that Carter had a "lower-body injury." Stevens would not elaborate, but Carter broke the policy himself. He said that he has a swollen left ankle and that X-rays were negative. Robitaille, who was tripped by goalie Johan Holmqvist late in the game, was not available to be interviewed.
Read more on the state of the Flyers

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What Can You Do In 20 Seconds?

At the beginning of the season, the National Hockey League announced that the duration of TV timeouts would be increased by 20 seconds. Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun writes this morning that coaches are putting that extra time to good use.

It's a gold mine," said the Maple Leafs' Paul Maurice. "It's seems like a very small detail," said the Atlanta Thrashers' Bob Hartley, "but that two-minute timeout, rather than a minute or a minute-and-a-half is a huge difference." In Maurice's case, it's the reason Mats Sundin's ice time has increased so dramatically this season. In Hartley's case, it's the reason Ilya Kovalchuk is third among NHL forwards in average ice time with 22:22.
More from Strachan

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com





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