Nov 8, 2010, 12:12 AM EDT
Concussions are a near-constant part of sports discussions lately – from players getting injured and dealing with the symptoms to pundits wondering how leagues should curb their presence.
While the NHL might be going overboard at times in the suspensions being handed out for checks that sometimes seem like borderline hits, it’s nice to see that the league’s collective hearts are in the right place. Even if it may have ruined large portions of the careers of players such as Marc Savard and Eric Lindros to get to this point.
But what about the hearts and minds of the players themselves? Former NHL official Ray Scapinello (seen in this post’s main photo) wonders if the issue of hits to the heads and other injurious checks might really be in the way hockey players treat each other more than the way the league legislates the aftermath. He shared those feelings with the Canadian Press.
“In days gone by, you used to hit a guy just to separate the puck,” said Scapinello, who spent 33 years as a NHL linesman before retiring in 2004. “Now they hit to hurt. … Even the cleanest check in the world, they’ll try and knock your head off. I don’t know if it’s lack of respect—I really can’t put my finger on what it actually is.
“The whole mindset of players has to change.”
Obviously I don’t have the same fly-on-the-wall experience as Scapinello, but I wonder if the issue is two-fold. For one thing, players are simply getting larger, something that would be pretty difficult to legislate. Another factor is that people are simply more aware of concussions; head injuries that might have been classified as “getting your bell rung” are now being treated more carefully. It’s natural to look back to whatever era you grew up in/matured in/whatever as a better period, but maybe things are just different now without being categorically worse?
I mean, after all, hockey is a tough, physical sport that always was (and probably always will be) a rugged game.
Moving on, another veteran referee named Ron Hoggarth discussed the challenges faced by modern officials, particularly in the case of the league’s new rules about hits to the head and blindside hits.
Hoggarth still watches a lot of NHL games on television and believes the referees are also adjusting to the new penalty. A major component of Rule 48 is supplemental discipline, which essentially gives the league’s hockey operations staff an equal role in its enforcement.
As a result, he thinks officials are less likely to call the penalty on the ice.
“I wish they’d give a little more (control) back to the referees,” said Hoggarth. “With the head shots, I’d really like them to say, ‘here it is, you guys call it.’ If it’s wrong, we can change it afterwards.
“I see some hesitancy from the referees to call that.”
Obviously, the NHL’s rules on such hits constitute a work in progress. How are you feeling about the way the league is handling such issues? Do you agree with Hoggarth and Scapinello? Feel free to share your thoughts on these subjects in the comments.
May 22, 2013, 6:16 PM EDT
His career has gone downhill since being part of the Hodgson trade.
May 22, 2013, 5:53 PM EDT
Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault joins the fray.
May 22, 2013, 5:18 PM EDT
“As long as they keep winning here, that just gives me a better chance for a return with every win.”
May 22, 2013, 4:20 PM EDT
“Will we look at them? Absolutely.”
May 22, 2013, 3:50 PM EDT
Pittsburgh’s power play is just 1-for-12 in its past two games.
May 22, 2013, 3:48 PM EDT
Vancouver cleans house.
May 22, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT
Decent goaltending depth in Anaheim at the moment.
May 22, 2013, 2:47 PM EDT
Click to read two good reasons.
May 22, 2013, 2:42 PM EDT
This should make the Keith Ballard buyout easier to stomach.
May 22, 2013, 2:07 PM EDT
Go have your say.
May 22, 2013, 1:55 PM EDT
He’s expected to be a top-5 pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
May 22, 2013, 11:59 AM EDT
Club says he suffered no injuries.
May 22, 2013, 11:35 AM EDT
His contract with the Coyotes is up June 30.
May 22, 2013, 11:10 AM EDT
Bold, but familiar move from Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean.
May 22, 2013, 10:45 AM EDT
Veteran defenseman spent 15 years in the league.
May 22, 2013, 10:34 AM EDT
Pending RFA not expected to re-sign with Jets.
May 22, 2013, 10:17 AM EDT
If they were, it would add fuel to the speculation that the team might relocate to Quebec City.
May 22, 2013, 9:52 AM EDT
He doesn’t have a goal in eight postseason contests.
May 22, 2013, 9:06 AM EDT
It’s not clear if they will be available on Thursday.
May 22, 2013, 8:02 AM EDT
The match starts at 7:30 p.m. ET.
- Here’s an (updated) list of available NHL coaching candidates 1
- Official: Canucks fire head coach Vigneault, assistants Bowness and Brown 21
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? 85
- Playoffs Tonight: Senators confident they can beat Penguins 35
- Video: Kings denied a goal after quick whistle 29
- Tweet from L.A. Kings Twitter account stirs controversy 60
- Discuss: Sharks take Game 4, even semifinal series against Kings 15
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead 98
- Video: Callahan gets away with high-sticking Chara 31
- Playoffs Tonight: Kings look for ‘killer instinct’ against Sharks 10
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead (98)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago (90)
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? (85)
- Bryzgalov thinks Stalin did a good job, wishes Philadelphia wasn’t so old, and believes poor people don’t want to work (80)
- Tiger calls Sergio's comments inappropriate, hurtful
- Bears great Urlacher announces retirement
- PBT: Rugged Pacers hope to slow high-flying Heat
- Posnanski on Golf: Sergio shows disdain for Tiger
- OlyTalk: Coach K will lead Team USA in Rio Games
- PFT: Crabtree tears achilles, out six months
- PHT: Canucks reportedly fire Vigneault, assistants