Skip to content

Retirements of Paul Kariya and Dave Scatchard send clear message to NHL about concussions

Aug 23, 2011, 10:22 AM EDT

Ben Walter, Dave Scatchard AP

The message has been out there all along for the NHL when it comes to concussions: Do something smart about it or start losing players sooner than not.

Seeing the retirements of Paul Kariya and now Dave Scatchard this summer that message was not-so delicately hammered home as red flags for the league. The NHL is figuring out a way to find the balance between maintaining the speed and beauty of the game while trying to keep the potentially ugly parts of it under some kind of control.

In Scatchard’s case, his history of dealing with concussions forced him out of the game and it’s affecting how he lives his life off the ice. While Scatchard announced his retirement via Twitter, he made it clear that he had to hang it up because doctors at the Mayo Clinic advised against him playing hockey again. For Scatchard, when there are basic things you can no longer do, that’s a big problem as Randy Starkman of The Toronto Star reports.

“Even today I have trouble pushing my kids on a swing set,” said Scatchard from his home in Phoenix. “Just the motion makes me really nauseous. Wrestling around with them on the ground, I can only do it for a minute or two and then I just feel sick. Any rolling motions or spinning motions just completely send me for a loop.”

Scatchard’s career came to an end during an AHL game thanks to a late hit. Paul Kariya saw a host of different hits conspire to end his career, some which were “legal” at the time and others that weren’t legal ever. Kariya’s farewell to the league was less of a sad thing because a once brilliant player was hanging it up, but more of a bitter situation because it all stopped too soon. As Kariya told The Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek at the time, the league has to serve notice to those who are going out of their way to hit their fellow man in the head.

Kariya went on to say that every hit that ever knocked him out came as a result of an illegal hit.

“Every single one,” he reiterated. “I’m not saying you’re going to ever eliminate concussions completely because it’s a contact sport, but if you get those out of the game, then you eliminate a big part of the problem.

“A two-game suspension? That’s not enough of a deterrent.”

And you know what? Kariya is right. While fans are twisted up wondering when (or if) Sidney Crosby is going to play this season, and after two weeks in a row of Penguins executives and Crosby’s agent tip-toeing around how Crosby’s actually doing there’s something amiss, the first thing the league has to do is start coming down hard on those who go out of their way to target the head.

This is one thing the new disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan is going to have to nip in the bud and fast. Colin Campbell’s clandestine ways of determining what was a “legal” blow and what wasn’t set a dangerous and awful precedent that Shanahan needs to not follow along with. With Shanahan being a guy who has played in the current style of the NHL he should be more than aware who the bad seeds are and how fast things can go wrong. Let’s hope that he can lead the charge to helping clean up a beautiful game whose warts are showing when it comes to protecting its players.

Latest Posts
  1. Devils’ Zacha to skip Czech’s world junior evaluation camp

    Aug 1, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    2015 NHL Draft - Round One 2015 NHL Draft - Round One

    New Jersey is still working on getting the 18-year-old signed to an entry-level contract.

  2. Flyers’ Hakstol flew 4,000 miles to have dinner with Voracek

    Aug 1, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    Dave Hakstol Dave Hakstol

    The two met in the Czech Republic to get to know one another.

  3. Nill believes Stars have ‘two No. 1 goalies’

    Aug 1, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    Jim Nill AP

    Lehtonen and Niemi will account for $10.4 million in cap space next season.

  4. No extension on the horizon for Flyers’ Brayden Schenn

    Aug 1, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Brayden Schenn Getty Images

    He’s heading into the final year of his two-year, $5 million deal.

  5. Jets partner with ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers

    Aug 1, 2015, 11:15 AM EDT

    ECHL_-_logo

    Winnipeg was affiliated with the Ontario Reign last season.

  6. Armed with new deal, Galchenyuk expects to have a ‘great year’

    Aug 1, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT

    gal Getty Images

    He signed a two-year, bridge contract worth $5.6 million on Thursday.

  7. Arbitrator awards Marcus Johansson $3.75M contract

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT

    Marcus Johansson Getty Images

    That’s close to the middle between his and Washington’s requests.

  8. Maloney: RFA Domingue will play in Europe

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    Louis Domingue Getty Images

    The decision surprised Arizona’s general manager.

  9. Siegenthaler signs entry-level contract with Caps

    Jul 31, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT

    Jonas Siegenthaler Getty Images

    The defenseman spent the 2014-15 campaign in the Swiss League.

  10. One month later, Mike Richards’ future remains murky

    Jul 31, 2015, 2:46 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers Getty Images

    There is a key deadline approaching though.

  11. Subban working out with former Olympian Ben Johnson

    Jul 31, 2015, 1:16 PM EDT

    P.K. Subban Getty Images

    Johnson won a gold medal in 1988, but it was taken away because of a positive steroids test.

  12. Quebecor seeks partners in Quebec City bid

    Jul 31, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    There’s a $500 million expansion fee to consider.

  13. How do Voracek, Giroux compare to the most expensive duos?

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Carolina Hurricanes v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    Because once Voracek’s eight-year contract kicks in, they’ll be part of that list.

  14. Report: Further coaching hires expected for Sharks

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT

    Peter DeBoer Getty Images

    Former NHL stars are among the list of likely candidates.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Stepan (2238)
  2. J. Toews (1663)
  3. L. Couture (1512)
  4. G. Bettman (1461)
  5. C. Wilson (1441)
  1. B. Gionta (1427)
  2. A. Chiasson (1392)
  3. N. Bonino (1327)
  4. E. Fehr (1290)
  5. A. Larsson (1115)