Apr 2, 2010, 3:45 PM EST
Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke is convinced a good hug may go a long way to curbing a constant safety issue in the NHL – hitting from behind.
Burke is lobbying the league to allow what he calls a “bear hug,” where a player, usually a defenseman, is allowed to wrap his arms around the targeted player, for a fleeting moment, while he takes him into the boards.
Burke says this change would avoid the “billiard-ball” force hits that exist now where all of the force is transferred directly from the “hitter” to the “hittee.”
Well, I can’t say the idea is insane but can you imagine the slippery slope this could cause with interference/holding/obstruction? Would refs think that a defenseman was simply protecting another player instead of impeding his progress to the net?
Perhaps the league should just be cut-and-dry instead. Something tells me if the NHL had a zero tolerance policy on hits to the head – whether they come from the front, side or from an overhead parachute approach – things would be a little different. Or maybe the league needs automatic suspensions for the egregious charges by Tanner Glass and James Wisniewski (it almost seems like “charge” is to light a word for those moments … perhaps they should receive a penalty for “stampeding”?).
Still, I appreciate the spirit of the idea. The league needs its most creative minds to take this issue seriously and come up with a solution that will straddle the line between “letting them play” and “allowing them to suffer irreversible brain damage.”
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 1
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 62
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updayed) 65
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 61
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 36
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 64
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty 169
- Report: Salary cap ‘may be around’ $70 million next season 17
- TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend 5
- Report: Laviolette a candidate to replace Capuano 25
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (169)
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (89)
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updayed) (65)
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ (64)
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand (62)