THE HUMAN TOLL: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Robin Brownlee
September 01 2011 11:06AM

With Sidney Crosby's hockey career hanging in the balance because of concussions and Marc Savard's apparently over, the NHL's overdue decision to address headshots in the game is a classic case of being a day late and a dollar short.

Given the alarming number of NHL players who've been forced to retire because of concussions in the past decade and the growing body of medical evidence of the short-term and long-term effects of concussions on the brain, why has it taken having the career of the game's marquee name, Crosby, put in jeopardy to prompt the league to address the issue?

Aside from attention to concussions beyond lip service being a case of better late than never, protocols and rule changes being put in place and contemplated for the 2011-12 season by NHL decision-makers don't go nearly far enough.

How much brain damage in the name of the game, in the name of our entertainment, is enough? How many players will have careers ended and their long-term health and well-being compromised by concussions before the NHL eliminates all head shots?

It can't happen soon enough.

DEVASTATING TOLL

Crosby's struggles with post-concussion symptoms have forced the issue of head shots to the top of commissioner Gary Bettman's list of things to do because he's the biggest name in the game. Having the career of Savard, a very good player but not a household name, cut short in a life-impairing fog has helped to do likewise.

But, considering the long list of players who've been impaired by concussions, it should never have taken this long for the NHL and NHLPA to stop looking the other way and do something about it.

You want a list marquee players who've had their careers cut short by concussions? Off the top of my head, there's Pat LaFontaine, in 1998, Paul Kariya, Eric Lindros, Keith Primeau, Geoff Courtnall and Adam Deadmarsh. Will Crosby be the next? We don't know.

Tough guys? Raitis Ivanans, Matthew Barnaby, Stu Grimson, Gino Odjick, Cam Stewart, Nick Kypreos, Kevin Kaminski and Robin Bawa. Other players forced to retire include Dave Scatchard, Brad Werenka, Jayson More, Dean Chynoweth, Brett Lindros, Steve Rucchin, Jeff Beukeboom, Steven Rice and former Oiler Paul Comrie.

With the risks inherent in the game, that list is certain to grow no matter what rules are put in place -- concussions can and do occur because of physical contact where there is no direct blow to the head. That said, it's the responsibility of the NHL to mitigate those risks.

TIME HAS COME

While rule changes regarding blindside hits to the head and protocols calling for more thorough assessments of players showing any signs of concussion are a start, they don't go far enough.

There is a growing number of people who believe any blow to the head of a player, by blindside hit or otherwise, should be dealt with by penalties and supplemental discipline. I count myself in that group.

That calls into question, among other things, the issue of eliminating fighting, which I've already written about oilersnation.com/2011/3/21/fighting-what-cost-tradition. That's a question I would never have entertained 10 years ago. It's part of the game, after all. If you don't like it, go play badminton, right?

Of course, with the pay scale in the NHL, there will always be young men willing to take whatever risks are involved without a single thought about the long-term consequences. NHL career? Where do I sign up? And there will always be fans willing to buy tickets to watch them do it.

Given the medical evidence and the growing list of casualties, it's time to re-think what's an acceptable level of risk for players. Likewise, what grim realities we're willing to turn a blind eye to in the name of entertainment.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Pucker
September 01 2011, 12:48PM
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Very good article and many good points in this post.

A day late and a dollar short - I don't agree with.

I think the game as evolved tremendously since the lockout. Mainly the rule changes with interference and hooking breeds a different style of play and player.

I think they started seriously addressing head-shots last season and I hope they continue through this season. I think Shanahan will make a big difference.

Equipment, 'smaller' ice surface, attitude all have a effect on the situation.

Equipment I expect is being looked at and there will be changes. Attitude - league disipline with PA backing will address this issue throughout this season.

Don't forget the PA was in a shambles last year.

Many of the previous concussions were written off to style of play (Lindros head-down), smaller players matching up head height with impact areas (Kariya)- and I thought (at the time) that some people were just more susceptible to concussions (Beukeboom,Comrie).

Now there are lot more names mentioned than I had expected. Perhaps the league is a little late, but I think they're addressing it and I hope to see huge strides this coming season.

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#52 Millertime
September 01 2011, 12:48PM
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I liked fighting and the big hits until my kid got to Bantam. Last year while watching a Midget game (only two years older than him he was 13), I watched two kids take their helmets off and beat each other bloddy while the crowd cheered. Thats when it hit me, this is not rationale to subject our kids to this. Of course the kids follow suit from what the NHL does. If next year, when my kid hits midget, someone tries to fight him, I honestly dont know if I will sit there and watch or if I will enter the rink myself and put a stop to it. It sounds stupid to say that, but in todays society, how can we justify allowing our kids (and adults) to beat each other up?

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#53 ubermiguel
September 01 2011, 12:54PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I still dont understand how the league can allow the hard plastic shoulder and elbow pads. No one can tell me that a safer and softer product cant be made. Even if it only saves 1 player from concussion at least the league can say it took one more precaution towards player safety.

Agreed. I'll take a few more shoulder injuries to prevent concussions related to clean hits.

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#54 Archaeologuy
September 01 2011, 12:54PM
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@mayorpoop

Refusing to change the rules isnt the same as not having rules at all.

At the end of the day Hockey is a contact sport and injuries are assumed. We should reduce the risk as much as possible by making equipment better and such, but eventually if you're changing the rules to reduce injuries you're going to realize that the game isnt hockey anymore.

Contact sport or non-contact sport. Pick one and live with it.

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#55 rindog
September 01 2011, 12:57PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Robin,

Do you think there is any merit to the idea of going back to the older style elbow and shoulder pads?

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#56 Talbot17
September 01 2011, 01:02PM
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there should be an automatic evaluation period (15 minutes or so) after 2 enforcer type players have a fight. Dont put them in the box for 5 minutes, force them to the dressing rooms to be evaluated by a doctor to ensure they are alright. i think its fairly realistic to say MOST of them would not be back on the ice right after the fight anyways, as those enforcer type players are usually subject to low minutes on the ice anyways. fights occur because the player tries to get his team going and get some sort of emotional edge half of the time, and i think having some sort of mandatory evaluation period for them would limit fighters from duking it out cause they wont want to be away from the ice for almost the full period. The NHL focused squarely on HITS to the head but did not include fighting..a big consistent occurrence for fighters in the NHL

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#57 mayorpoop
September 01 2011, 01:03PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Refusing to change the rules isnt the same as not having rules at all.

At the end of the day Hockey is a contact sport and injuries are assumed. We should reduce the risk as much as possible by making equipment better and such, but eventually if you're changing the rules to reduce injuries you're going to realize that the game isnt hockey anymore.

Contact sport or non-contact sport. Pick one and live with it.

well thanks for the lesson.

i was responding to the guy who said he was an advocate of violence in sports. what level of violence is acceptable? the current level, a step up a wee bit less?

"contact sport or non-contact sport. pick one and live with it."

ummm ok.

do i have to make a choice right this second or can i wait a bit? jeez what a silly commment.

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#58 m3sh
September 01 2011, 01:06PM
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I agree there's room for basic changes to make it a bit safer, but moreso I agree with some on the thread that inherently hockey is a violent sport and all participants, especially at the pro level, understand and accept the risks every single time they go over the boards. Could this be a knee jerk reaction, as concussions will continue to happen no matter how many rules you put in the way, (although arguably they can be reduced).

Actually makes me wonder if concusssion injury is truly on the rise or if the technology and medicine surrounding it has simply improved our ability to properly diagnose it. it's become such a hot button topic, and the increased studies and documentation surrounding it keep it in the forefront of the cultural consciousness so to speak. Is it truly as bad as we think? I need a JW breakdown of the numbers.

All that being said, the pads are an easy win, and where the hell is the PA on this?

And on another note, no gate driven league will willingly reduce its seat counts.

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#59 Archaeologuy
September 01 2011, 01:11PM
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@mayorpoop

As crazy as people get about head-hits, I get about people who dont recognize that we'rer talking about a contact sport. Hockey is an inherently "violent" game. Every player is fair game to be hit when handling the puck save for the goalie, who gets run over all the time.

Constantly changing the rules isnt going to change the fact that injuries will always happen. I think that the people who are outraged by the lack of rule changes are as silly as you suggest my comment was.

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#60 mayorpoop
September 01 2011, 01:17PM
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@Archaeologuy

i happen to think that the only way things get better/safer, in all facets of life, is that we be open to discussion and the potential for growth and change.

i will not disagree with you on equipment changes, they are a must.

i think robin brings up points that should resonate amongst the nhl. not to simply make drastic changes or make non-contact but be aware and open to change and development.

pro-active must be great than reactive.

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#61 RKD
September 01 2011, 01:18PM
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That's an image of Crosby I hope I never see again. He's the star of the NHL whether you like him or not.

He was absolutely dominating the league, second to none until Steckel blindsided him in the outdoor game.

I would say a lot of it is attributed to more reckless hits. Scott Stevens was heavy hitter and his hits on Lindros and Kariya were devastating. However, it seemed like ten years ago those reckless hits occurred once in a blue moon. Now it's become a common occurrence, players have lost respect for one another.

Going back to the soft shoulder pads could be one way to soften the blow of the impact. However, some might argue it will lead to more shoulder injuries.

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#62 ryan
September 01 2011, 01:38PM
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They are playing sports and there is an inherent risk invovled in that. Like any other job when risk is increased so is pay and its a personnal choice you make assessing risk and reward. The only reason this is an issue is because they are higher profile people. Where is the huge public out cry when soldiers come home injured? There is 100's of soldiers coming home with head injuries per year and there is a simple solution to that just keep them here. We are worried about a dozen players over the last couple decades. How many soldiers have had ptsd over that same time period ? How many people have been injured making 8$ an hour? Why don't we try and help promote a safe work place for people that aren't making millions of dollars ? Why should we give a crap about hockey players ? Thier own union and members don't care about thier own safety and can't respect each other. Why would I waste my time on it ?

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#63 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
September 01 2011, 01:39PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I still dont understand how the league can allow the hard plastic shoulder and elbow pads. No one can tell me that a safer and softer product cant be made. Even if it only saves 1 player from concussion at least the league can say it took one more precaution towards player safety.

I have always said that Equipment was a huge part of the problem. I also feel if the pads were soft the player doing the hitting might get a bit stung as well. This might add some protection as well. The whole underarmor thing is a train wreck looking to happen. I give you props. Hard Protection on the head and reproductive parts and softer on the shoulders and elbows.

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#64 icedawg_42
September 01 2011, 01:58PM
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@Trevor

Well said Trevor.

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#65 gongshow
September 01 2011, 02:03PM
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ryan wrote:

They are playing sports and there is an inherent risk invovled in that. Like any other job when risk is increased so is pay and its a personnal choice you make assessing risk and reward. The only reason this is an issue is because they are higher profile people. Where is the huge public out cry when soldiers come home injured? There is 100's of soldiers coming home with head injuries per year and there is a simple solution to that just keep them here. We are worried about a dozen players over the last couple decades. How many soldiers have had ptsd over that same time period ? How many people have been injured making 8$ an hour? Why don't we try and help promote a safe work place for people that aren't making millions of dollars ? Why should we give a crap about hockey players ? Thier own union and members don't care about thier own safety and can't respect each other. Why would I waste my time on it ?

You should care because it's an issue that trickles down to involve millions of minor hockey and junior players as well. Some of them might be your kids or your friends kids. At the end of the day, I agree that it should be the PA that takes care of this issue for their own sake, but for the sake of the 99.99% of players that will never have a sniff, I hope that we're finally getting smart enough to give a rats ass about this.

Agreed that our injured soldiers are largely ignored by the media, the public at large and even the VA. That is a disgrace to those heros who put their lives on the line.

Finally, there are regulations and protective bodies in place that are there to protect workers who aren't making millions. That system isn't foolproof, but there is an attempt to do so.

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#66 gongshow
September 01 2011, 02:05PM
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@Trevor

Well said. You are more eloquent and less verbose than I.

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#67 Morning Coffey
September 01 2011, 03:01PM
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@thepeetso

Making the rink larger sounds like a good idea to me. It wouldn't change a fundamental part of the game but it would still allow players more time and space. Less injuries, more dangles. I like it.

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#68 mayorpoop
September 01 2011, 03:24PM
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@Archaeologuy

you remember the world juniors where we did have that battle royal russia v. canada. bit of a disgrace at that level, no?

strcit rules do so in fact help the IIHF. you telling me that pronger is less cheap just because its the olympics? no its because of the rules they have and the crap he will recieve if lives beyong those rules. clutterbuck at the worlds this year? there are many a player who's game in the NHL is definitively as it would in the IIHF competition.

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#69 mayorpoop
September 01 2011, 03:27PM
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@arch

sorry about the lack of coherence in some of the sentences, my bad, should of proof read better and wanye promised to sort my account out so i could edit my lack of grammar. he just hasn't lived up to that yet.

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#70 Archaeologuy
September 01 2011, 03:36PM
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@mayorpoop

Yeah, at the Olympics I understand the rules, but Pronger being cheap is a good part of the game. It was great when he was an Oiler. The Ducks werent complaining either.

I dont have a problem with Clutterbuck, fights in the WJHC, or Scott Stevens thundering open ice checks. All should be lauded as great aspects of the game.

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#71 Wax Man Riley
September 01 2011, 03:40PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

The NHL is in the business of sporting entertainment. Any comparisons to Bub Slug working on a construction site is foolish.

If the players don't respect each other, all the rules in the world don't matter. The players are only doing what's expected of them. Intensity and finishing their check, for most, if they're not doing both they're not going anywhere in the game of pro hockey.

The NHL is in the entertainment business. Now, because of a lack of movement, I don't get to watch Crosby play anymore. I don't get to watch him on opening night in Edmonton. Where is my entertainment then.

What if Hall and Eberle get headshots this year and they are out. Do I get a refund on my entertainment dollars? Heck no!

You say the game is fine the way it is? That was a good argument when tough guys were 6'1" 220lbs, but now the tough guys are 6'7" 260lbs. The faster skill players are now 6'1" 200lbs. The game is bigger and faster. The game has changed, and the rules need to change with it. It is called evolution.

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#72 I tried it at home
September 01 2011, 03:41PM
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Interesting subject, and opinions on all sides, esp given the recent events. Personally, Im on the side of enlargening the NHL rink to the international standard, yes it gives more room to pick up speed but it also gives more room to manoever and more time to do so. Seriously, this aint a-happening with seat sales in the balance, I realise that but IF the league was totally serious, thats would be my vote. Ive also learned a bit reading through the comments, not all of which I agree with but valid arguments anyway.

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#73 Wax Man Riley
September 01 2011, 03:52PM
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ryan wrote:

They are playing sports and there is an inherent risk invovled in that. Like any other job when risk is increased so is pay and its a personnal choice you make assessing risk and reward. The only reason this is an issue is because they are higher profile people. Where is the huge public out cry when soldiers come home injured? There is 100's of soldiers coming home with head injuries per year and there is a simple solution to that just keep them here. We are worried about a dozen players over the last couple decades. How many soldiers have had ptsd over that same time period ? How many people have been injured making 8$ an hour? Why don't we try and help promote a safe work place for people that aren't making millions of dollars ? Why should we give a crap about hockey players ? Thier own union and members don't care about thier own safety and can't respect each other. Why would I waste my time on it ?

Any job has workplace safety standards and policies. From construction, to warehouses, to Wal-Mart wo desk jobs.

It isn't a stretch to think professional sports is any different.

As for soldiers? Different story. Don't get me started. Ask any military employee and he will tell you safety comes first. Same with Police and Fire Fighters.

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#74 justDOit
September 01 2011, 04:12PM
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So as many people call for changes to equipment - shoulder and elbow pads specifically, I don't hear anyone mention updating the helmet.

Like NFL, F1 and NASCAR, shouldn't the NHL put some research into better brain buckets?

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#75 fretsey
September 01 2011, 04:50PM
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Why hasn't the NHL/NHLPA banned the "football style" shoulder pads and hard plastic/kevlar elbow pads? To me this is such an obvious first step towards player safety.

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#76 Hemmertime
September 01 2011, 05:02PM
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They players know the risks. They are paid way more than members of our military.

If you don't like the risks don't play the game. The people who's parents are too touchy about the risks never let their kids play. Thats fine. Players have broken legs and hit their heads against the end boards, maybe we should pad them all with nerf foam.

Headshots happen, injuries happen. Leave the game alone. Can increase suspensions so they have meaning if something was determined to be intent to injure but a rule change would be going to far. We already have charging, boarding, elbowing, spearing. All those should be enough guidelines on what you can and can't do. If you change the rules players will play even more reckless because theres some words on a piece of paper saying "He shouldn't hit me in this position" and there will be way worse injuries. If I knew I might score 10 more goals a season because I put my head in the way of any body check to dissuade the hitter - I would do so. Thats a HUGE difference in pay for an NHLer who scores 20 or who scores 30.

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#77 Gretzkin
September 01 2011, 05:13PM
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*Due to the squeemishness of today's society all professional sports (except soccer, golf and tennis) have been cancelled until further notice* - Note: These are the same people that would have cheered loudly and high fived had Peckham gotten a hold of Avery last season, etc,etc. Hockey, being the new sport that it is turns out to be very dangerous after all. Surely intentional head hits should be punished and even accidental within reason (Naslund was reaching, for example, not Moore's fault). People have been going crazy lately in the wake of the tragedies of this summer that may or may not have anything to do with blows to the head. Belak never suffered a concusion, according to him. Rypien was a very sick individual and Boogard? Well, maybe. Post concussion drug addiction. It's possible (not proven) We all know there is a risk to play contact sports, there always has been. The players know this and I do agree that there are ways to make it safer and I think all avenues should be checked. Take out the instigator rather than fighting. Let the players re-learn fear and respect. This all makes the saying, "you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette" ring true. Just keep in mind, the deaths of the players this summer is more a byproduct of their roles and what it does to their mental health. The issues with the Savard's and Crosby's a different. Make it safe, but don't take out the excitement and danger, that's what hockey is all about, like it or not.

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#78 Tyler
September 01 2011, 05:14PM
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Great post, completely agree. Let the people who don't wonder about the human cost when watching this stuff watch UFC. The fighting's better there anyway.

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#79 Wax Man Riley
September 01 2011, 05:50PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Fireman die long before their time. Miners die long before their time. Some of our military die long before their time. What's wrong with the game of hockey giving its share as well.

The one constant that comes with living in the free world is that we're all guilty of the choices we've made. Hockey players are just people too.

What's wrong with hockey giving it's share?

Hockey players aren't saving people from burning buildings or natural disasters. Even when firefighters are doing this, safety comes first.

Same goes for miners. I won't start on the military.

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#80 Jason
September 01 2011, 05:50PM
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Well i have to chime in on this.

The equipment is harder than the ice when its coming at you the speed a player is going. Why did it ever have to change....wasnt it initially to protect a player?

Head gear....as silly as it sounds and i have no research on this but why from a safety standpoint arent the players heads further protected. The jaw, face? Can someone give me a reason why players can wear some type of hybrid football/lacrosse style helmet? Man code with face shields and the stigma behind wearing them is crap....havent we evolved a tad bit more when it comes to as Tom Renney would say "manning up?" Drop the tough guy act and protect the players. Dont make it optional and the stigma being man enough is gone.

Speaking of stigma's regarding being too much of a man to discuss problems. I cant help stopping to ask why we are so quick to assume that these recent unfortunate deaths are a result of just getting pounded in the head. Yes depression could be link to damage to the brain but why are people afraid to ask the more taboo question of substance abuse? Im by now means saying Rypien or Belak had these concerns but we dont know do we?? Numerous players have been known to dabble in substances and party pretty hard. Direct link to depression (alcohol being a depressant itself) Boogie man himself was the only player that has been tied to it in the past 3 deaths.

Dont be so quick to rule this out as a concern for professional atheletes. I find it more of a coincidence with the concussion issue being so prevalant.

My questions if i was in the media circles to the powers that be are.

What is the drug test policy and if its only random then someone better wake up and be a little more serious with its substance abuse policy.

Give a 20 year old a couple million, an image of a god in a hockey city, no rules or guidance or accountability and see what happens. Any hockey fan has either heard first hand or second hand info where they have witnessed a NHL player partying hard. Im suprised these occurences havent happened more frequently but mark my words it will increase if something isnt done.

I asked a specific agent at one point why the young players or teams dont have a "life skills" coach to ensure that these young men understand the risks involved in the choices they are making or allow them to have someone to connect or confide to and my response was the NHL has a substance abuse program? What does that have to do with prevention? They arent able to talk to other because they are still taught the old school approach of "manning up".

So when we look at concussions and the recent tragic losses i would be inclined to say be careful because it may just be timing.

I could list numerous players that have experienced significant impacts in thier life as a result of substance abuse and working in a mental health field i think unfortunatly we dont ask the tough and taboo questions.

My suggestion would be "man up" and ask the real questions!!

Once again i must stress im not saying that Mr.Belak or Mr.Rypien were struggling a substance abuse problem but i guarentee its an issue in the NHL. In regards to Mr.Rypien and potentially Mr.Belak.....suicide = mental health, and the NHL and organizations needs to do more around supporting players with thier mental health just as much or more than physical health. Its not just a result of getting brain damage from hits or punches in the face. A voluntary psychologist on staff just doesnt cut it.

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#81 ChinookArch
September 01 2011, 06:10PM
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@rubbertrout

I really don't get why people throw out a 3 week tourney of the best of the best as an example of how NHL hockey should be.

Alright, I think your saying the intensity of a short tournament is an unfair comparison to the long 82 game drudgery in the NHL. Fine, I'll grant you that, but give me thoughts on the Red Wings. They've been the class of the league for the better part of 2 decades and have done it (at least over the past 10) years with very little fighting and without role players that need to play on the edge (ie Matt Cooke). I suppose you'll tell me there boring to watch?

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#82 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 01 2011, 06:20PM
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@Robin Brownlee

And every hockey player accepted the risks for the sake of that contract. Nobody is forcing these kids to participate. Hockey players knowingly risk their lives for the sake of the standard of living it will afford them, nothing more.

Virtually all of the players on your list knowingly/willingly engaged in the most dangerous part of the game. For some, this may have been the reason they were fortunate enough to wear an NHL jersey in the first place.

I'm sympathetic towards the 3 families affected during this difficult summer but these are just isolated incidents that by coincidence happened within 3 months of each other. Contrary to popular belief, the sky isn't falling.

Considering this article was written by the president of the Rudy Poeschek fan club, thank you for another spirited effort Robin.

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#83 striatic
September 01 2011, 06:30PM
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"Fireman die long before their time. Miners die long before their time. Some of our military die long before their time. What's wrong with the game of hockey giving its share as well."

assuming this isn't a rhetorical question ..

firemen and soldiers risk their lives in order to save the lives of others and preserve freedom. even then, fire departments and militaries go to great lengths in attempting to mitigate these risks.

miners? miners shouldn't have to die before their time. that's an issue of poor working conditions and shoddy labour practices and being less than ridiculously careful in an industry that is ridiculously dangerous when not approached with care and restraint.

the stakes in those areas are on a completely different level than those present in professional hockey.

i LOVE a good hockey scrap. i cheered when sMac dropped Ivanans last year. that's because hockey is about passion and your brain kinda goes into some primordial state where the battle is everything and that kind of thing is fun to watch. so long as fighting and devastating hits are in the game, i'm probably going to cheer for them. they're fun and i don't want to have to 'censor' my thoughts while watching hockey, because watching hockey is what i like to do when i want to be totally un-self-critical. i'm not ashamed of that mindset *in the moment* and i don't think i ought to be, but when the game is over and i read about the debilitating effects that kind of play has on body and brain - whatever fun i get out of it, just isn't worth it.

when i watch women's hockey, or olympic hockey, or the world juniors, i don't miss the fighting or the hitting at all. i don't even THINK about the fighting or hitting until it actually happens, and if it doesn't i'm not disappointed in the slightest. fighting and hitting is "part of the NHL game" as it currently exists but it isn't "what hockey is all about".

if fighting is removed from NHL hockey, i'm not going to lie .. the games will be less entertaining for me to watch.. but if fighting is removed and replaced by more of the other things in the game that i like just as much? strategy, hustle, unalloyed skill? would i be less entertained then?

no, i think i'd like the game just the same.

if fewer human beings suffer career [and life] ending injuries, and i end up liking the game just as much as i do now, i think that's a win even if a particular aspect of the game i enjoy has to be removed and replaced.

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#84 Wax Man Riley
September 01 2011, 06:30PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

And every hockey player accepted the risks for the sake of that contract. Nobody is forcing these kids to participate. Hockey players knowingly risk their lives for the sake of the standard of living it will afford them, nothing more.

Virtually all of the players on your list knowingly/willingly engaged in the most dangerous part of the game. For some, this may have been the reason they were fortunate enough to wear an NHL jersey in the first place.

I'm sympathetic towards the 3 families affected during this difficult summer but these are just isolated incidents that by coincidence happened within 3 months of each other. Contrary to popular belief, the sky isn't falling.

Considering this article was written by the president of the Rudy Poeschek fan club, thank you for another spirited effort Robin.

I just skimmed the article again, and nowhere does it link the 3 deaths this summer to concussions.

This isn't about the 3 deaths, It's about keeping players safe and on the ice for our entertainment.

What world do you live in? comparing Firefighters saving lives to hockey players playing a game. Your view of the world would have us smack dab in the movie The Running Man. Everyone would just kill each other for our entertainment.

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#85 Captain Obvious
September 01 2011, 06:56PM
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Quicksilver and archaelogy are bad people. There is no place for your crass views in civil society. May bad things happen to you and yours.

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#86 Archaeologuy
September 01 2011, 07:09PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

Quicksilver and archaelogy are bad people. There is no place for your crass views in civil society. May bad things happen to you and yours.

Well I never claimed to be a good person, but assuming I did then it would be hypocritical of me to turn around and wish bad things upon others and their families.

I didnt think that wishing that the NHL use safer equipment before changing its rules made me a bad person though.

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#87 Hemmertime
September 01 2011, 07:13PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

Quicksilver and archaelogy are bad people. There is no place for your crass views in civil society. May bad things happen to you and yours.

You sir are an idiot and even worse than them. Their opinions were thought out and articulated. You are saying "I disagree so you should die"

Face it, Boogaard mixed Alcohol and Drugs, he was stupid. Now he's dead due to it. It says on the damn label not to do it. He partied himself into the grave. Im not going to shed a tear or think of any "solutions" to the problem of stupidity.

Headshots are fine for discussion (though no rule would have stopped the accidental contact that hurt Crosby). But having people kill themselves due to being depressed or stupid isn't something we need to change the game for. Theo Fleury got help - there are systems in place for players to get it, lets expand those.

But Im sick of people including Boogaard in all these stories, he was just plain dumb, thats it.

*edit - woot, comment #83

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#88 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 01 2011, 07:25PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

Quicksilver and archaelogy are bad people. There is no place for your crass views in civil society. May bad things happen to you and yours.

Well this thread has certainly taken a turn towards the surreal....

http://youtu.be/9hvA0wWTIv4

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#89 Captain Obvious
September 01 2011, 07:25PM
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@Hemmertime

In civil society not all opinions are legitimate and worthy of voice. They endorsed gladiatorial combat with a gleefulness that passed beyond crass. Their views are shameful and they deserve to be excoriated as such.

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#90 Archaeologuy
September 01 2011, 07:43PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

In civil society not all opinions are legitimate and worthy of voice. They endorsed gladiatorial combat with a gleefulness that passed beyond crass. Their views are shameful and they deserve to be excoriated as such.

So I should enjoy hockey, but not the part where grown men pitch against eachother in a violent battle for fame and money with thousands watching and cheering?

You cant be serious. Am I on Candid Camera? Am I being Punk'd?

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#91 Butters
September 01 2011, 07:44PM
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I think it's the equipment. I wonder if there was an increase in concussions once players started wearing molded plastic?

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#92 Stocc
September 01 2011, 08:19PM
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Hey, look at that. Number 87 in the picture and 87 comments on the article. Cool.

...

I did... I did what?

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#93 Mitch
September 01 2011, 09:18PM
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@ Brownlee

What I want to know the answer to is what are the team doctors saying. I don't look at this as a fighting issue or a hockey issue. What types of treatment are being given what meds. This could be anyone. Worst part is 3 people are dead, two suicide and one overdose. I don't get it. I would never want to kill myself, but I don't think it's something you would only spend 5 minutes pondering.

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#94 Eulers
September 01 2011, 09:20PM
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Here's a related idea: why does the NHL allow it's players to play without a neck guard?? Does someone have to die before that rule gets accepted, because we've come awful close a couple times. For heaven's sake, hockey players wear knives on their feet and we don't even have that simple rule.

Anyone remember last year when Taylor Hall was tossed on his head behind the opponent's net? His skates were right at the height to do some serious damage. It's rare but it happens.

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#95 Vintage Flame
September 01 2011, 10:39PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

"What's wrong with the game of hockey giving its share as well."

Really? No really??

Needless to say that I think this is my far the dumbest thing I've EVER read, doesn't even scratch the surface.

Wow..

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#96 bigguy13
September 01 2011, 10:42PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I still dont understand how the league can allow the hard plastic shoulder and elbow pads. No one can tell me that a safer and softer product cant be made. Even if it only saves 1 player from concussion at least the league can say it took one more precaution towards player safety.

I disagree totally! Equipment is a small part of the problem, its the players. A gun doesnt kill a person, you need someone to pull the trigger and it doesnt matter if its a plastic bullet or a metal bullet it still hurts. Make every player not wear helmuts anymore like the old days. Back then it seemed each player had more respect for another than now.

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#97 Dog Train
September 01 2011, 10:56PM
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All I know is that Sidney Crosby and Marc Savard sell tickets and put butts in seats. I like a big hit as good as the next guy but the idea is to take him off the puck, not send him off a stretcher. I know that the game is fast paced but cheap shots like guys such as Matt Cooke like to throw have no place in the game. As much of a weiner as Cooke is, it's the NHL's responsibility to make these players understand what is a clean hit and what is not because people don't play to see guys like Cooke, they pay to see guys like Savard.

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#98 Wanyes bastard child
September 01 2011, 10:57PM
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Why don't they treat head shots like high sticking?

Even when its not on purpose or if it's an accident a high sticking is always called. The reason behind this is because you are supposed to be in control of your stick at all times. Continue this reasoning into something like "A player should know/respect another player at all times and whenever any contact to the head whether incidental or not shall be issued a 2-4-5 minute penalty with further purview pending upon review of said incident"

Or something along that lines, im not sure how they word the rules in the rule book eh.

Basically what im trying to get at is, with high sticking calls you are supposed to be in control and know where your stick is at all times. It should be the same with shots to the head, you know where your opponents head is in relation to your self so in theory you should be able to avoid hitting said opponents head. I know it sounds easier said then done, but couldn't it be a start?

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#99 Kevin R
September 01 2011, 11:08PM
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Butters wrote:

I think it's the equipment. I wonder if there was an increase in concussions once players started wearing molded plastic?

Was at a golf tournament & sat by Bearcat at the dinner & I asked him. He definitely felt this football equipment & the increased speed of the game are the main contributors to seriousness of concussions. Thing is, we want to keep the speed of the game & I think larger surface, no touch icings, softer padding will be the right steps to reducing these type of injuries. Fighting is fighting, maybe if we took out the instigator and let the players police the cheap shot offenders without costing their team a game changing power play, we might be able to get some of that garbage out. Concussions are going to happen in this game, the ice & boards are mighty hard surfaces & players will take some awkward falls & have some accidental collisions. I heard a real stupid take at a poker table but in a retarded way there is an underlying point, he said, too much $$$ involved that gives a mediocre player way too much incentive to injure another player, they should drop prices of tickets and pay the players less. How about that for outside the box. :)

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#100 the-wolf
September 02 2011, 07:02AM
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Things they should do:

- equipment: all protection worn over the forearms, elbows and shoulders area must be covered by an approved type of foam at an approved thickness.

- get rid of staged fights with immediate 10 game suspensions. If a spontaneous fight breaks out, fine, but the gladiators facing off to bore us all to death are a waste of time and embarassing. And a 10 year old can tell the difference, so don't use that as an argument.

- if a concussion is deemed deliberate then the offender should be suspended for 20 games minimum automatically or for as long as the injured player is out as determined by a 3rd part doctor.

- no hits to the head. Period.

- eliminate the 4th line from hockey. This alone would clear most everything up. The 4th line is populated by nothing but has-beens, never-wases, goons and the beyond-marginally-skilled. they chew up maybe 2 or 3 minutes of ice time/game in most cases. It's a waste of roster space and salary and in even of injury teams could always dress a spare.

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