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Head Shots and DPS

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My opinion has been to make it as black and white as high sticking (and I have said so numerous times in the past in various discussions and mentioned it above in this thread). This isn't something that happens in every game or even a lot, but when it does, it needs to be addressed. It isn't going to severely change anything. I have never understood why a player was supposed to be able to control his stick, but not his shoulder or elbow. Make it a minor penalty if the head is impacted. If the hit is deemed to be a "head targeting issue" then the current rules would apply. Let refs review any hit called to the head whether it be high sticking or body contact. Let the league office continue to evaluate tape. I'm not saying call a 5 minute major or throw a player out for contact that may have been unintentional.

It's a legal issue now, in addition to general player safety.

edit: I'm always a big advocate of making rules as black and white as possible. It makes it easier for the refs and the fans to interpret. Kind of like how all of a sudden, off sides has turned gray because just what constitutes control of the puck? Puck goes in first. No questions. No gray area. Simple solution.

Edited by super_dave_1

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SD, that's what I'm saying too, though you worded it way better.

 

Incidental head contact: 2 minute minor

 

Purposeful targeting or reckless: the option for a 5 minute major, and further discipline.

 

Another similar situation is boarding where the player is expected not to deliver a hit if they see the numbers. This doesn't mean that no one gets hit, doesn't even mean no one gets boarded, but it happens less than if it were not a penalty.

Edited by remkin

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SD, that's what I'm saying too, though you worded it way better.

 

Incidental head contact: 2 minute minor

 

Purposeful targeting or reckless: the option for a 5 minute major, and further discipline.

 

Another similar situation is boarding where the player is expected not to deliver a hit if they see the numbers. This doesn't mean that no one gets hit, doesn't even mean no one gets boarded, but it happens less than if it were not a penalty.

If it's clearly purposeful, it has to be a game misconduct IMO. First for the message it sends (zero tolerance) and second for the safety of the offending player. I don't think you can announce "intentional hit to the head, five minutes" and not expect repercussions both in-game and from the stands if the perpetrator returns. 

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If it's clearly purposeful, it has to be a game misconduct IMO. First for the message it sends (zero tolerance) and second for the safety of the offending player. I don't think you can announce "intentional hit to the head, five minutes" and not expect repercussions both in-game and from the stands if the perpetrator returns. 

 

I agree with that. Any hit to the head deemed flagrant or purposeful, should be a 5 minute major and an ejection, then subject to further discipline. This is the open ice blind side hit where the player being hit did not move into the hit at all. These are just utterly unacceptable and not hockey plays. They risk serious injury and the hit player's team losing that guy for months.

 

One other thing. Whether or not the guy hit seems hurt or not should not factor into the decision on the ice. If you shoot a bullet at my head and narrowly miss, you still tried to kill me. I can see that factoring in slightly to the subsequent discipline, but not the call on the ice. A nasty hit is a nasty hit, even if the guy getting hit skates away initially.

Edited by remkin

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I agree with that. Any hit to the head deemed flagrant or purposeful, should be a 5 minute major and an ejection, then subject to further discipline. This is the open ice blind side hit where the player being hit did not move into the hit at all. These are just utterly unacceptable and not hockey plays. They risk serious injury and the hit player's team losing that guy for months.

 

One other thing. Whether or not the guy hit seems hurt or not should not factor into the decision on the ice. If you shoot a bullet at my head and narrowly miss, you still tried to kill me. I can see that factoring in slightly to the subsequent discipline, but not the call on the ice. A nasty hit is a nasty hit, even if the guy getting hit skates away initially.

Totally. I've never understood the "injury contingency" for lack of a better term. Whether injury occurs - to quote John Cleese - DON'T ENTER INTO IT!

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I'm all for increased enforcement that will reduce head impact in the NHL.  But a couple of thoughts on a couple of thoughts.

 

I'm in complete agreement as to "injury" effecting penalties.  It should be irrelevant.  The same action should be treated the same regardless of outcome. 

 

The current boarding rules do contain a clause whereas, regardless of the contact, it's not a penalty if the boardee turns his back at the last instant leaving the boarder no time to alter what would have otherwise been a legal hit.  

 

I don't see see high sticking as being a good reference when it comes to calling head impact penalties.  The game is played with the stick at basically waist level or below the vast majority of the time.  Sure, a player may raise his stick to go around an opponent, but when that does happen it's to avoid contact, not initiate it.  For the stick to contact the head the stick has to come way up because the head almost never comes down to typical stick level.  Most checks on the other hand consist of a shoulder or arm thrown at the torso, usually at chest level.  If the checkee changes his elevation by bending or reaching it can easily bring his head down to the level of what otherwise would have been a legal hit.  And checking happens continually (and at speed) throughout a game. 

 

Just as with boarding, I still don't see how you can implement a Head Contact rule that doesn't contain an exception for cases where the opponent does something at the last instant that contributes to what otherwise would have been a legal hit turning into head contact.  As stated above, the same action should be treated the same regardless of outcome.

 

Definitely crack down hard on flagrant, purposeful, and I'd add reckless, hits. That's both on ice during the game and after via supplementary discipline. 

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Lake, letting refs review the play will take care of a lot of those concerns. I do though think that it needs to be cut and dry like high sticking. Taking out the gray area takes out judgment. I had a college professor tell me something that is one of the most pertinent things I have ever heard. You can't treat everybody equally fair, but you can treat everybody equally unfair. Just call them all the same.

The league is going to have to do something because of the impending legal problems in regards to head injuries.

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Posting this here rather than in the Slugs game thread even though it fits in both places.

 

In hockey, how is a punch with the gloves still on not a punch???  I guess it must be because boxers and MMA fighters don't suffer any damage from a punch due to the gloves their opponents are wearing.  Oh, wait . . . :screwy::dizzy:

Edited by LakeLivin

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Posting this here rather than in the Slugs game thread even though it fits in both places.

 

In hockey, how is a punch with the gloves still on not a punch???  I guess it must be because boxers and MMA fighters don't suffer any damage from a punch due to the gloves their opponents are wearing.  Oh, wait . . . :screwy::dizzy:

 

I didn't see Skinner getting punched while down and vulnerable.  I don't know what you are talking about.   It wasn't a punch, he had his gloves on.

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Those were spirited noogies. Just be glad they didn't give him an Indian Burn, a pink belly, or the dreaded purple nurple.

Edited by super_dave_1

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2016/07/26/gary-bettman-cte-concussions/87587458/

 

 

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated that there is no "link" between chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and concussions, in his response to inquiries from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) about the long-term risks of head trauma.

 

Is this moron for real?  Brain injury does not cause brain injury.  Makes sense.

 

sr6fh.jpg

Edited by super_dave_1

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I understand that he's trying to do damage control, but it's kind of like if a tobacco company exec currently said that there is no link between smoking and lung disease. I think there is probably enough evidence to link the two. If that was tried now, he or she would be executed in the media. Buttman says the equivalent, and it's business as usual.

No need to take the physicality out of hockey, but maybe tweak the rules to make it a bad thing if you punch another player in the head. I appreciate the role that fighting has played in the game over the years. Current medical concerns make it necessary to reconsider some of the things in order to protect the sport itself. As football continues to come under fire on this issue, hockey will be the next one. The league needs to get out in front of the issue and stop ignoring it.

Keep kicking that can down the road Gary. What's the worst that could happen?

Edited by super_dave_1

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I understand that he's trying to do damage control, but it's kind of like if a tobacco company exec currently said that there is no link between smoking and lung disease. I think there is probably enough evidence to link the two. If that was tried now, he or she would be executed in the media. Buttman says the equivalent, and it's business as usual.

No need to take the physicality out of hockey, but maybe tweak the rules to make it a bad thing if you punch another player in the head. I appreciate the role that fighting has played in the game over the years. Current medical concerns make it necessary to reconsider some of the things in order to protect the sport itself. As football continues to come under fire on this issue, hockey will be the next one. The league needs to get out in front of the issue and stop ignoring it.

Keep kicking that can down the road Gary. What's the worst that could happen?

Well said, and I don't get it either. He sounds exactly like a tabaccy execcy, actually.

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I understand that he's trying to do damage control, but it's kind of like if a tobacco company exec currently said that there is no link between smoking and lung disease. I think there is probably enough evidence to link the two. If that was tried now, he or she would be executed in the media. Buttman says the equivalent, and it's business as usual.

No need to take the physicality out of hockey, but maybe tweak the rules to make it a bad thing if you punch another player in the head. I appreciate the role that fighting has played in the game over the years. Current medical concerns make it necessary to reconsider some of the things in order to protect the sport itself. As football continues to come under fire on this issue, hockey will be the next one. The league needs to get out in front of the issue and stop ignoring it.

Keep kicking that can down the road Gary. What's the worst that could happen?

 

Agree completely and well stated.

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If you look at what the NFL is going through with the same issue (and the money they have spent and set aside for these issues...$675,000,000), it makes absolutely no sense to play ostrich and stick your head in the sand. After football, what is the contact sport in this country that would be the most lucrative target for lawyers to round up ex-players and go after? Come on, I'm waiting.

This is exactly the kind of issue Congress loves to get itself involved in. It gets headlines, the Congressmen get to strut around and look important, and best yet, it doesn't require the government to actually do anything. A couple of years from now when Bettman is in a Congressional hearing and answering questions, how is this going to look? I'm not a smart man, but I know this is a bad look. Eliminate fighting (I know, I hate it too) because it's hard to explain how you are responding to concussion concerns while you are endorsing and glorifying 200 pound men punching each other in the head. Also tighten up the rules on hits to the head and allow refs to review those without a coach's challenge. These 2 items seem to me to be a good start.

Edited by super_dave_1

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If you look at what the NFL is going through with the same issue (and the money they have spent and set aside for these issues...$675,000,000), it makes absolutely no sense to play ostrich and stick your head in the sand. After football, what is the contact sport in this country that would be the most lucrative target for lawyers to round up ex-players and go after? Come on, I'm waiting.

This is exactly the kind of issue Congress loves to get itself involved in. It gets headlines, the Congressmen get to strut around and look important, and best yet, it doesn't require the government to actually do anything. A couple of years from now when Bettman is in a Congressional hearing and answering questions, how is this going to look? I'm not a smart man, but I know this is a bad look. Eliminate fighting (I know, I hate it too) because it's hard to explain how you are responding to concussion concerns while you are endorsing and glorifying 200 pound men punching each other in the head. Also tighten up the rules on hits to the head and allow refs to review those without a coach's challenge. These 2 items seem to me to be a good start.

Totally. Any contact to the head should be penalized, a minor for incidental and a game misconduct if purposeful, with more to come pending further review. If it is clearly intentional, you sit half the season the first offense, a full season on the second, and - assuming you come back at all after missing all that hockey - you're done on this continent if it happens a third time.

 

Let UFC introduce "boxey"--ice hockey with boxing gloves. And face the con$equence$ 

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Thanks for the link. 

 

What amazes me in situations like these is how - even if we accept the naysayers' premise that the jury is still out - these self-interested twits double down. Let's say they're right and the jury IS still out. Isn't the possibility alone reason enough, if you're truly interested in putting player safety first, to say "no more hits to the head"??

 

Somebody needs to take Ol' Gary down to that lake at Disney and tell him to get into the water. "But I might get attacked by an alligator!"

 

"Sure, you might--but it's only a possibility. Why let that stop you? YOU IDIOT."

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It may not be "proven" in Bettman's mind that concussions cause CTE, but isn't trying to reduce head injuries (concussions) a worthy goal? If not, then go back to the days of no helmets. Let the officials review borderline hits and have them police the game. The teams have too much money invested in the players to not protect them, and don't even think of the legal costs down the road. If minor changes could reduce concussions 25%, wouldn't that be worthwhile?

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Thanks for the link. 

 

What amazes me in situations like these is how - even if we accept the naysayers' premise that the jury is still out - these self-interested twits double down. Let's say they're right and the jury IS still out. Isn't the possibility alone reason enough, if you're truly interested in putting player safety first, to say "no more hits to the head"??

 

Somebody needs to take Ol' Gary down to that lake at Disney and tell him to get into the water. "But I might get attacked by an alligator!"

 

"Sure, you might--but it's only a possibility. Why let that stop you? YOU IDIOT."

 

What gets me is how the "people in charge" like Bettman will claim that the jury's still out based on that one example - hey, player X had multiple concussions and didn't show any symptoms of CTE after he committed suicide, so concussions don't cause CTE. If that were true, then smoking doesn't cause cancer 'cause one of my grandfathers smoked for years and his death wasn't caused by cancer.

 

My term for it is "statistical medicine". I think I can safely say that when anyone goes to a doctor, we want him (or her) to treat us as an indivdual, based on our medical history. However, if a treatment worked for 99% of the patients it was used on, I'm willing to entertain the possibility it will help me.

 

It may not be "proven" in Bettman's mind that concussions cause CTE, but isn't trying to reduce head injuries (concussions) a worthy goal? If not, then go back to the days of no helmets. Let the officials review borderline hits and have them police the game. The teams have too much money invested in the players to not protect them, and don't even think of the legal costs down the road. If minor changes could reduce concussions 25%, wouldn't that be worthwhile?

 

This is the part I don't understand. We know that people are affected by concussions - prime example currently being Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR, who is sitting out races because of "concussion-like symptoms" caused by being bounced around in wrecks - and we have reasonable certainty that less and less impact is needed to cause subsequent concussions (and they often have worse consequences). CTE should certainly be a concern, but isn't concussion on its own a worthy opponent?

 

On the other hand, Bettman, as commissioner, is more concerned with the league as a whole than with individual teams. That's part of why he's going for the CTE issue as opposed to concussions - one player's concussion only affects that one team, and for the NHL as a whole, what does it matter? If that one player's absence from the lineup causes a team to do poorly, which causes attendance to drop, which causes the owner to move the team or sell or fold the team, well, the league will survive and fill the gap somehow. There are plenty of CHL players out there busting their butts for free (or nearly so) to repopulate the NHL, so why should the league worry if a few teams are stuck paying for guys who got their bell rung a few too many times?

 

IMO, this is one situation where teams ought to be working to protect their investment in players, despite what the commissioner thinks or says.

Edited by JonKerfoot

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The NFL got in trouble by trying to cover up information. The information is now out there, and Bettman wants to publicly ignore it. One thing I always stress to my kids is to always ask yourself "What's the worst that could happen?". Bettman has chosen to stick his head in the sand. What's the worst that could happen?

I'm no lawyer, but I think the league would look a lot better in future hearings to at least try to do a few things now to address concussion reduction. Bettman can continue to say that there is no proven connection between concussions and CTE, but is it believable? I know I can sound like a broken record on this, but the future of the leagues financial health is in the balance and that cost will be passed on to us as ticket buyers. Oh, and there is the players' health to think of too if you don't think the money is reason enough to act now. Obviously the money is Bettmans main concern.

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Obviously the money is Bettmans main only concern.

Fixed it.

 

IMO, this is one situation where teams ought to be working to protect their investment in players, despite what the commissioner thinks or says.

Your whole comment is terrific John, and on this point in particular I heartily agree. The problem, as I'm sure you realize, is that, in a league where revenue sharing is soooo critical to the survival of many teams, the League will sanction any org that independently comes out in clear opposition to the League's stated position.

 

What's really needed is the same thing that happened with the NFL. Someone, whether Congress or an enterprising reporter - must corner the League's top health official and get them on the record one way or the other. Assuming that person is a licensed physician (although this is the NHL, so who the hell knows?), I doubt they risk their professional cred - and very possibly their credential - by siding with Bettman. Once they acknowledge the connection, the floodgates will open and the League will be forced to act.

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Your whole comment is terrific John, and on this point in particular I heartily agree. The problem, as I'm sure you realize, is that, in a league where revenue sharing is soooo critical to the survival of many teams, the League will sanction any org that independently comes out in clear opposition to the League's stated position.

 

What's really needed is the same thing that happened with the NFL. Someone, whether Congress or an enterprising reporter - must corner the League's top health official and get them on the record one way or the other. Assuming that person is a licensed physician (although this is the NHL, so who the hell knows?), I doubt they risk their professional cred - and very possibly their credential - by siding with Bettman. Once they acknowledge the connection, the floodgates will open and the League will be forced to act.

 

Thanks, top, and yes, I understand the interconnectedness of the NHL and the clubs that make it up, insofar as revenue-sharing is concerned. It would also be difficult for one team to unilaterally do anything more to protect their players from concussions - it's not as if they can institute team-specific rules on head hits or anything like that.

 

I guess I was just thinking that the impetus for change may well have to come from the bottom up - team medical staff talking to GMs, who talk to owners, who talk to the league medical staff, who talk to the commissioner. Since the NHL is a much smaller presence in the pro sporting arena than is the NFL (and most other sports, even), it's going to be tougher to find someone inside the NHL offices who is going to stand up and say the words without backing from the organizations.

 

Moreover, and I think this is where Bettman is staking his claim, is that, according to the sources I've read, there is NO way at present to diagnose a living person with CTE. Apparently changes to the brain structure are obvious after death, but there are no blood or tissue tests that one can use on a living person that will show that they have CTE. I hate to say it, but I think this is what Bettman's hanging his "not proven" hat on....

 

Still, that's faulty reasoning on Bettman's part, and I do agree with you and super_dave that this is an issue that needs to be confronted, not swept under the rug.

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