Headshots are the hot topic around the league now and I am glad. As a Flyers fan we have lost 2 of the best players ever to wear Orange and Black to head shots. These two players are Eric Lindros and Keith Primeau. The problem that I have with the league now, is that similar hits as the ones that injured these two are now called “dirty” and yet the league put Scott Stevens into the Hall of Fame for delivering a series of these clean hits”. So now that the rest of the league calls these hits dirty as the people in Philly have done for years, here is my idea for instantly stopping the insanity of these hits.
These hits are not new to hockey; if you watch the NHL videos over the years these hits are advertised as a reason to watch the game. So why now are these injuries occurring now? Simple this has EVERYTHING to do with the type of shoulder pads that the players are wearing. These players are wearing a full suit of armor under their sweaters.
To stop the results of these hits, the NHL should tell the manufacturer of the equipment to take the incredibly rigid plastic off the upper arms and shoulder pads. People always say that every old player got his “bell rung” and they kept playing, this is true and not true. Getting hit with an old style shoulder pad in the jaw probably would ring your bell, but these new pads hurt people regularly. Don’t believe me, go to a sporting goods store, pick up and elbow pad and hit yourself in the jaw. Now go to the Hall of Fame and look at the shoulder pads of Bobby Orr or Bobby Clarke. They protected the player and didn’t injure the other guys.
I don’t want to hear that these pads protect the players; I am all for keeping the heavy armor on the player’s legs, knees, hips, ankles, etc. Let’s keep this armor on the goalies. However the regular players should be re-equipped with the old style shoulder pads and elbow pads. Without these “weapons” on their upper bodies, these players will slow themselves down before delivering the open ice hits. Problem solved! And for anyone that says Bauer, Jofa, etc. will lose money, remember this, they have to re-equip the entire hockey world (NHL and AHL) plus major junior, European leagues. So don’t cry for the manufacturers.
So this problem solves the issue, allows the hitting to stay in the game, forces players to remember that the hit they deliver may hurt their body as well, and allows the manufacturers to make some money. Where is the downside?