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Eric Lindros says the NHL’s ‘sacrified’ player safety for speed

A few weeks ago, former Philadelphia Flyers GM Bobby Clarke weighed in on the NHL’s concussion problem, insisting that allowing obstruction and the NHL choosing to suspend players instead of allowing them to police themselves via fighting were the roots of the spate of concussions, and this morning, one of the players whose career came to an end in no small part due to concussions suffered and rushed back from under Clarke’s watch, Eric Lindros, spoke to the Kingston Whig-Standard’s Ian MacAlpine about the same issue:

“The game’s has gotten too fast,” he said outside the Frontenacs dressing room after his one-hour morning session.

That speed comes at a price for the players’ safety, he said.

“The red line is out and the game’s quicker. It’s inevitable there’s going to be more (concussions). They knew that when they took the red line out. So they sacrificed that for speed.”

Lindros hopes the issue stays in the forefront.

“There been a number of good articles and related material that truly point to the direction of playing safe, and not just looking at our game but other games and seeing what can be avoided.”

Lindros donated $5 million to the London Health Sciences Centre upon his retirement in 2007 for concussion research. It is believed to be among the largest donations to the health centre and also one of the largest donations to any cause by a Canadian athlete. The money was earmarked for the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, where he was treated by the centre’s co-founder, Dr. Peter Fowler, during his NHL career.

“There’s going to be concussions,” Lindros said. “What we can do is, as soon as it happens, make sure to give the player every chance to get back on the ice as quickly as possible but to be the 100% they’re accustomed to.”

Continued with talk about Lindros visiting the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs…

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So to me, it sounds like Eric is an angry old man saying “get off my lawn, today’s game is too newfangled and fast,” but maybe that’s just the concussions speaking..
No really, not to be rude, because Lindross DID suffer an improportionate amount of head injuries, but didn’t he suffer most of his 1348 concussions during the pre-lockout rules with 2-line offsides passes?  The league has done its part to illegalize shots to the head that were once fair game (think Stevens hit on Lindross).  To remember the 90’s as an age when the NHL was a bit simpler, a bit slower and safer, and you didn’t have to worry about locking your house at night because you used to be able to trust a man.. seems to be a revision of the reality of it.
Best wishes to Eric, though, he was definitely one of the best players of his time when healthy, and he defined several franchises through the trades he was involved in.  It’s good to see someone giving back to their community, and that is a lot of money for anyone to donate to such an important cause.

Posted by Josh from Warren on 12/28/11 at 11:59 AM ET

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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.

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