Kukla's Korner Hockey
Spring is a wonderful time of renewal. The snow melts away (and with record breaking snowfall locally it is much welcomed) the green growth and flowers appear. By green growth of course the playoff rookies that are making a difference and the annual showing of Marc-André Fleury giving Pittsburgh Penguin fans elevated blood pressure.
Emotions are the backbone of the NHL for players, fans and in some cases the non cheering media. Be it the No Words commercial, or the videos of players throwing jerseys on the ice or crying when their team either does not make the post season or when they are eliminated from it. There are huge highs and deep cutting lows on the roller coaster that is the hockey world. Less than a week into the 2014 NHL Playoffs and that still has not changed.
via Christopher Botta of SportsBusiness Journal (paid subscription),
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman received almost $8 million in salary and benefits during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, according to the league’s most recent tax filing, up from a total compensation of $7.5 million the previous year.
added 9:50am, SBJ opened the link to all so you can continue reading if you desire…
From Tony Gallagher via the Times Colonist:
Many are applauding vigorously and treating Brendan Shanahan as some sort of hockey saviour, but it represents the NHL offices in New York, which are so sensitive to media pressure in the area of game violence, simply instructing him to start making the suspensions longer. Colin Campbell would have done the same had he been given the same instructions, the only thing different really is the better explanations for the reasoning behind the individual decisions.
Nothing structural has changed really. The league still pulls all the strings and Shanahan talks to the same people Campbell did on a daily basis —only there are longer suspensions for more and different types of hits, which is fine as long as the lawyers who run the league know the risks.
With long suspensions going to players making a lot of money comes the risk that they will look at the whack in the pocket book and not only reduce illegal hits (which almost always happen unintentionally) but also legal ones as well. Every time such a player goes to hit somebody he’s going to consider whether it’s worth the risk of that guy turning the wrong way and he’ll end up suspended again as a repeat offender.
From Ray Ratto at CBS Sports:
Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s new bad cop/bad cop on the beat, was, in the immortal words of the noted hockey fan of yore Richard Pryor, “handing out time like it’s lunch” on Monday.
And good. Even if he’s overreacting, good. Especially if he’s overreacting.
Five players have lost 14 games of regular-season time and all the preseason games they have left for head shots, boarding and general mischief well beyond the pale, and more to the point, Shanahan has been explaining their crimes in exhausting detail and with repeated showings of the crimes and transgressors on video.
So it’s a start.
The NHL has taken the step the other sports still won’t—punishing perps and the teams that pay them for the dirty plays that occasionally pop up in a contest of sport.
Update 1:57pm ET: More on Shanahan’s performance thus far in today’s Star-Ledger from Rich Chere.
From Jim Reyno at Metro London:
There’s been a lot of talk in hockey lately about concussions and their lingering effects, and whether it’s time fighting be banned from the game.
“I don’t know about that,” said Dale Hunter, owner and coach of the London Knights. “It’s in the rules — fighting has been part of hockey for 90 years.”
For 19 of those years, Hunter was a willing participant in that part of hockey in the NHL. Just 5-foot-10 but 200 pounds, in many ways Hunter was a concussion on skates, throwing his weight around (as well as a few lefts and rights) on his way to accumulating 3,563 penalty minutes — second all-time behind Tiger Williams. Consider him an expert on rugged play.
continued… with discussion specific to OHL matters and head shots
From Adam Proteau at The Hockey News:
So a concussed MMA fighter sits out 90 days, but a concussed NHLer often returns to action the following game, or even the same night. Does that sound to you like a league that can claim to be progressive in its approach to head injuries? If it does, stop reading this column and immediately visit your doctor – you may be concussed yourself.
Now, it’s entirely possible that, even with a much more serious approach to concussion treatment and prevention, Crosby and any of the aforementioned players would’ve been caught up in the sticky web of concussions.
However, the fact of the matter is, had the NHL treated long-since-retired concussion victims as if they were the future of the sport, we might already have had a full-on ban on head shots many seasons ago and far fewer players might be dealing with head injuries today.
NEW YORK (June 21, 2011) – The National Hockey League’s Board of Governors today approved changes to the wording of two rules – Rule 41, Boarding, and Rule 48, Illegal Check To The Head. The changes were approved by the League’s 30 Club General Managers and were approved by the Competition Committee before being forwarded to the Board for ratification.
A boarding penalty will be assessed for a hit on a defenseless player that causes the victim to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously. The new wording requires the player delivering the check to avoid or minimize contact if his opponent is defenseless. It also allows the referee discretion to determine whether the recipient of the contact placed himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the collision and whether the check was unavoidable.
A penalty for an illegal check to the head will be assessed for a hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact. The qualifying terms “lateral or blind side” for such hits have been deleted.
From John Vogl at the Buffalo News:
Regulating hitting—and hits to the head, in particular—is among the foremost topics on Regier’s mind. He called upon his fellow GMs to ban all head shots during their March meetings. He says eliminating a small number of injury-causing hits won’t fundamentally change the sport.
“We have a tremendous amount of hitting in the game,” Regier said last week. “By the league’s own totals, there are 55,000 hits in the NHL. We’re going to end up with 110, probably, concussions in the league, plus or minus.
“To the extent you can go in and identify those hits ... ideally you’d like to remove 110 hits, but if you remove a couple of hundred or even a couple of thousand you’re still left with over 50,000 hits. So for the people that claim that you’re taking hitting out of the game, I think that’s on the ludicrous side.
*hat-tip to Sportsnet.ca’s Hockey Hearsay for the pointer.
“That’s what’s thankless about this job. You try to do the right thing, you try to keep physicality in the game and you guys think that I enjoy hearing everybody saying [Raffi] Torres should have been suspended. Well that would have been the easy thing to do. If they want to go forward and say that type of hit or all head hits should be suspended, maybe this job will be easier, but I don’t think so.”
—Colin Campbell from yesterday’s interview on TSN Radio [audio link]
For more text of Campbell’s comments, check out the Globe & Mail
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook took a Justin Abdelkader elbow to the head in the third period of Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Seabrook dropped like a rock.
He didn’t stay down for long, but he went down hard. So either he was stung by the elbow or he may have been trying to draw a penalty.
Teams are expected to remove players if the player displays balance issues, lack of coordination, is disoriented, clutches his head, has a visible facial injury or is slow to get up following a hit to the head.
more plus other hockey topics…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org