Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 12/01/13 at 04:59 AM ET
George here on the late shift with some food for thought.
The New York Post's Larry Brooks believes that the concussion lawsuit filed against the NHL has merit, and he also believes that both players and those who covered the game back when concussions were supposed to be something you either "shook off" or "played through"--which was as little as ten-to-twelve years ago--should have been asking harder questions, and Brooks believes that those who played need to do the same thing that those who shrug off wearing visors as a matter of "choice" or those who defend fighting as a matter of "self-policing" need to do today: wake up to the fact that there are some parts of the body that you can't fix once they're broken:
I started covering the NHL in 1976. The players back then didn’t ask the kinds of questions that have been raised in the class-action lawsuit, and neither did I. We should have asked, we should have known. We didn’t. Did the league executives? Did the club physicians and medical trainers? If they did, for shame. If they did, if it is proven they did and colluded in a cover-up, they will pay.
I have spoken in the past week with a substantial number of players I have known for almost four decades. They all seem to have mixed feelings about the lawsuit, and few believe they were lied to by responsible parties. These guys bemoan their lousy pensions, but they don’t blame the league. They don’t think they were lied to, and they don’t even blame the Players’ Association for their plight.
If they blame anyone and anything, they blame themselves, they blame their culture, and they blame their time. They took blows to the head, they took an aspirin, and they got back on the ice.
By the late ’70s, after the advent of the WHA, the introduction of agents and the first explosion in salaries, they got back on the ice not so much because they feared for their jobs or were concerned about being sent to the minors, but because they didn’t want to let down their teammates.
If players didn’t ask the proper questions, if embedded reporters didn’t ask those questions — and those were the days, my friends, when writers traveled with teams, when writers socialized with players, before the wall between clubs and the media was erected, never to be torn down, only to be buttressed with each passing year to no one’s real benefit — then neither did the Players’ Association.
Players didn’t want to be told to wear helmets, and the NHLPA for the longest time supported their members’ right to be hard-headed and bare-headed. Players want the right to fight and slug each other in the head, and the NHLPA to this day supports that desire as if it’s part of the Second Amendment.
Brooks continues at length and addresses the NHL's TV deals and Jeremy Roenick's derision of the concussion lawsuit.
And I can't say whether I agree or disagree with Brooks regarding the elimination of fighting, but I certainly believe that every player in the league, regardless of when they came into the league, should have to wear a visor.
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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.
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