Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 05/19/07 at 09:00 PM ET
By George James Malik
Chris Pronger needs to take his nose out of Playboy (audio interview, go to 24:28 mark and listen thru to 36:30 mark) and open up a physics book.
Physics does not explain why a 6’6” player is allowed to hit a shorter player in the head simply because he is taller than the shorter player. That’s a cop-out and rationalization of Burkeian proportions.
Does the “law of physics” state that, because players like Bertuzzi and myself are so massive (245 pounds), we’re allowed to shrug our shoulders when we take runs at players, and those players are injured?
When people like us play contact sports, we hurt people, and we don’t even mean to do it, because Newtonian physics state that momentum is conserved in collisions (barring factors such as friction and metabolism [body heat] dissipating some energy into the surrounding environment), or, in other words, when I hit somebody who’s lighter than me, they have to accelerate faster than I do, or absorb more force (force [in Newtons] = mass x acceleration).
In simple English, that’s why a semi can turn a Yugo into road pizza, and that’s why, if I hit somebody who weighs 190 pounds, they fall down and go boom.
That doesn’t give me an excuse for running guys into the end boards because I want to take them out.
Chris Pronger’s size and weight don’t give him the right to get his arms up, run Tomas Holmstrom into the boards face-first, and shrug it off because he’s taller than Homer is. Hockey players are held accountable for controlling their sticks, and hockey players are held accountable for controlling their bodies, regardless of how tall or how heavy they are. Hits that exhibit an explicit intent to injure express an explicit intent to injure.
That’s not the “law of physics,” but it’s the law of hockey.
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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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