Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/18/12 at 10:37 AM ET
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The only reason Brendan Shanahan, Gary Bettman and their fellow NHL executives are sitting amidst the wreckage of the Stanley Cup playoffs, topped by an inexcusable assault by serial offender Raffi Torres, is their lack of courage in their own convictions.
For that matter, every NHL general manager, head coach, owner, player – any of those who bitterly protested last fall’s crackdown on headshots – can take an equal share of the blame for this disaster….
Over the next several weeks, complaints from GMs and others poured into the NHL’s head office. When the Blue Jackets fell flat coming out of the gate, knowing fingers were pointed at Shanahan for taking away the great Wisniewski - although the last time I checked no one mistook him for Bobby Orr. The league’s zeal is undermining our team, it’s trying to take the physicality out of the game - all the usual claptrap.
So Shanahan and Bettman backed off, although it was strenuously denied, of course. The suspensions trickled off. What Wisniewski did to draw a 12-game suspension became two or three or that good old $2,500 ( U.S.) fine.
Once the NHL threw in the towel, the chance to force the players to adjust the way they made hits and make the game safer over the course of the regular season was lost. By the time the playoffs arrived, with the stakes and the emotions ratcheted up, it was no surprise when the assault and injury count skyrocketed.
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