Since the beginning of the 2011-2012 season, Claude Giroux, Sidney Crosby, Jeff Skinner, Brayden Schenn, Daniel Paille, Peter Muller, Joey Hishon, Radek Martinek, Marek Zidlicky, Nino Niederreriter, Michael Sauer, Milan Michalek, Zbynek Michalek, Kris Letang and Andy Mcdonald have all been diagnosed with concussions.
While the NHL attempts to remove hits to the head, some hits are just regular hits that lead to these concussions. With the technology in today’s sports it’s really hard to figure out how these concussions keep happening.
Since the Lock-out the NHL has attempted to “speed” the game up. They eliminated the two line pass, put in a trapezoid behind the goal-line, added the shoot-out to eliminate ties and ensure a winner, the tag-up offsides and moved the blue lines back to create a bigger offensive zone and minimize the neutral zone. All things that have sped the game up and some of those changes were for the good of the game. I love the Tag-up offsides or the elimination of the two line pass. However, since the game has sped up the number of injuries has nearly doubled. (All Injuries) One has to ask, has the game become too fast?
I think a fast NHL can be good for the game itself. It allows players with fineness to excel and bring in new fans. It establishes a faced pace game with non-stop movement, something other sports like Baseball and football lack and even basketball lack. It makes the game exciting. Edge of your seat non-stop action!
The bad you ask? The speed of the game also makes it hard to see those bone-crushing hits like we’ve seen in the 90’s, 80’s and 70’s that made us jump out of our seats. We’d crave those hits, however with the speed of the new NHL, those hits are almost eliminated. Players are now protected by penalties such as charging, clipping, and hitting from behind. Bone-crushing hits are being eliminated because of the speed. The speed of the game is causing these injuries. The equipment is far more advanced than the 70’s and 80’s and even though the hits may be of the same caliber, the speed of the hit is the difference.
I think the NHL needs to evaluate the game again. It’s not the “lack of protection” in equipment that’s causing injuries, it’s the speed. The hits of hockey are part of the game just like fighting, you can’t eliminate them. It also leaves a big hole, because with new rules on hits constantly changing and with the inconsistency of discipline, the players aren’t sure what hits are ok, other than direct shots to the head. The NHL needs to slow the game down just a bit. Not bring back the style of the 80’s, but make it a more controlled tempo game where players need to slow down.
If you take away hitting from the game, you’ll protect the players for sure, but you’ll damage the game and the NHL is already having a tough time trying to bring in new fans. But this should be more of a concern than the talks of banning fighting. Fighting will fill seats and is part of the emotion the players share during the game.
I want the NHL to keep the up-tempo of the game, but they need to figure a way to slow it down, slightly. This way the fineness players can still shine, there's constant end-to-end action and the big hits don't injure nearly as often. Some of the games' best players are being hurt and if you really want to protect them, you’ll slow the game down just a little bit.