More on concussions in the NHL

So it’s Tuesday night and a few hundred people who are protesting Max Pacioretty’s injury from Zdeno Chara in front of Montreal’s Centre Bell. This protest came about after an online petition and a talk radio personality. A number of small groups joined together to get the NHL to ban head shots.

“You don’t like it, don’t come to the games,” Washington Capitol’s coach Bruce Boudreau told the assembled media at the Capitals’ pre-game skate on Tuesday morning. I guess he’s forgetting that probably the majority who attended the protest may have not seen any games in person because they can’t afford to pay those hefty salaries – let alone what they charge for a beer, a hot dog or a watered down soft drink. I also guess he won’t hind if one of his players gets a concussion from a “legal” hit.

The NHL general managers have recommended significant changes in hopes of improving player safety, but an automatic penalty for any contact with an opposing player’s head is not on the table. Meanwhile, one of the recommendations made is retaining safety engineers to ensure all NHL arenas conform to standards, including the elimination of seamless glass by next season.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, dictator for life,  has maintained that a look at data shows that most of those injuries are coming from collisions or hockey plays rather than targeted hits.

Of the approximately 80 concussions suffered by players in 2010-11, the NHL found that 44 per cent of those were caused by a legal hit. Another 26 per cent came on plays that were deemed accidental, 17 per cent were ruled to be the result of an illegal hit and eight per cent were suffered in fights. The remaining five per cent couldn’t be accounted for because they occurred on an undetected play. 80 concussions is the equivalent of 4 teams’ benches. So about the equivalent of more than one in every 7 players had a concussion this year [assuming one concussion per player].

Meanwhile, the amount of fans calling 911 in Montreal to demand legal action has subsided. Some are calling for Quebec’s chief crown prosecutor to request a police investigation but is unlikely to go anywhere [according to legal experts].

Both VIA and Air Canada have warned that they may pull their sponsorship if the NHL does nothing. Air Canada is used by all 6 teams for their flights. Bettman has responded that the players can travel other ways and they could be dropped because of the lack of “appropriate level of service”. This is blackmail. So how will the teams travel? Horse and buggy?

Personally I don’t think the NHL has done enough.


About ebraiter
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