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Kukla's Korner Hockey

It’s Not The ‘Old Days’ Anymore

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,

Then again, in the old days, nobody even realized players’ brains could be damaged. They were made of sterner stuff then. Smelling salts would fix any temporary discombobulation, and out they went for another shift.

But we actually do know a little more now. Not everything there is to know, but enough to be sure of two things:

1. The dramatic increase in the size and speed of players, the degree to which violent hits are celebrated by fans and prized by coaches, the number of players being concussed, and the looming pandemic of sports lawsuits that are certain to arise from leagues’ failures to recognize and protect players’ brains have all combined to put sports — and hockey among the front-runners — in a very dangerous, vulnerable position.

2. Hockey’s rule book needs to be significantly rewritten, again, to reflect the damage that modern weaponry, if you accept the analogy, can wreak upon the victims of what used to be legal contact in the days when the hip-check would have been the highlight-reel hit (if there’d been highlight reels).

Friday’s ruling by the NHL’s department of player safety — a two-game banishment of Ottawa’s Eric Gryba for a “clean” hit (by the old definitions) that left Montreal’s Lars Eller lying unconscious in a pool of his own blood — was another small step toward recognizing that the world has changed, and the law must change with it.


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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.

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