That’s it. I officially don’t care about hitting from behind and blows to the head in the NHL. I used to care. A lot. But why should I? The league and its players don’t. Not really.
The latest headlines are David Koci destroys Mike Green with hit from behind. Jarkko Ruutu runs at Patrick Kaleta’s head. Today my media pals will bleat on about “How something must be done,” or “When will the NHL start taking this stuff seriously?” They’ll rant and demand suspensions.
Oooooh. He got five games for that. That’ll make the next guy think twice, I’ll tell you what. Please. Suspensions do nothing. Media rants or suggestions do nothing. The debate is getting old.
It’s a violent sport. People get horribly injured with horrible hits - some legal, some not. As a fan, it’s up to you to decide if you accept the carnage – 18 suspensions so far this season. It’s up to you if you want to expose your kids to the occasional violent antics of the many men in this game who set a horrible example. It's up to you if you want to put your kids into contact hockey against kids who think violence can make up for lack of skill.
It’s certainly a case of big, fast, well conditioned, fiercely competitive young men playing an intense rough game on a tiny ice surface with incredible money on the line. It’s gonna get crazy out there.
Of course the league could improve safety by routinely launching 30 game suspensions, particularly at the meatheads who contribute nothing to the game. The players union could pretend to care about the health of their members. They could easily revert to the old soft shoulder and elbow pads designed for protection instead of weapons. Softer padding means when you launch yourself at someone, you’re going to be in some pain too.
People have lots of good suggestions like that.
I even read one guy who thinks that when a player is suspended for, say, 5 or 10 games then his team should accordingly play shorthanded for the first 5 or 10 minutes in the ensuing game.
They could try all kinds of things to clean things up. But read my lips. The NHL doesn’t give a crap. This is what they’re selling. Don’t like it? Too bad.
I still love the NHL, despite its warts. It's like a great roller coaster ride where the carnies occasionally break a chair over your head.