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NHLPA is monitoring NHL’s response to concussion problem

The Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis managed to score an interview with the NHLPA’s somewhat reclusive executive director, Donald Fehr, and Fehr suggested to Francis that the NHLPA plans on taking a larger role in terms of talking about ways to address the increasing number of concussions, rule-amending recommendations from this past March’s GM’s meetings included:

“It’s certainly possible you could have discussions on health and safety when CBA talks take place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have ongoing discussions,” said Fehr, who spends his weekdays at the NHLPA’s Toronto office before jetting back to New York City.“We’ve had ongoing discussions with the league on a lot of these issues, and what I’d like to have happen near the end of the season around the time the competition committee meets is have agreements on these type of issues. We share the same goal and want to make the game as safe as possible without changing it.”

That last part has to be music to the ears of all hockey fans. However, few doubt the players and owners are gearing up for another collision course in the summer of 2012 when the CBA expires. And with that in mind, everything the two sides do together will involve an insistence that when one side gives, there’ll have to be plenty of take elsewhere. For example, while it’s only natural the Players’ Association would bristle at the notion the league will hand out stiffer, costlier suspensions for blindside head-shots, it would be much more palatable if the teams and coaches were also punished.

“One of the issues Gary raised was looking into the possibility of taking action against clubs and personnel if there are continued violations — that’s certainly an issue I would urge them to follow through on,” said Fehr, the longtime head of baseball’s powerful union. “And, hopefully, we’ll have conversations on that, too.”

Continued with talks about the NHL’s current disciplinary structure and the new concussion protocols implemented by the league.

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Something tells me Don Fehr will come out on the side of ‘the perpetrators should keep as much money as possible” rather than the side of “what can we do to keep our membership from getting brain damage.”

Posted by steviesteve on 04/02/11 at 05:35 PM ET


The NHL must mandate the use of mouth guards and corrective oral appliances. A lower jaw appliance, specifically designed to balance the jaw, has proven to reduce lost games with the AHL:‘s Hershey Bears. Identifying players with a boxers Glass jaw is the key in reducing the number of concussions, by targeting those who are prone due to this diagnosable condition. A screening protocol now in use with many NHL, NFL and NBA teams should be the norm for any athletic program. It’s been reported that players like Patrice Bergeron, Brian Pothier and many other high profile concussion cases have benefited from this procedure. Common custom mouth guards do nothing to correct and have shown in research to have no effect on reducing injury who have a glass jaw. Only a corrective medically fit appliance developed with boxers, refined with the N.E. Patriots for over two decades and the subject of research by the U.S. Army. This is just common sense, why not? http://www.mahercor.com

Posted by Steve from Boston on 04/06/11 at 01:11 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.