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Roenick slams players, cites the “stupidity of the hits” that are happening

Dec 15, 2011, 1:05 PM EDT


Sometimes when former pro athletes are hired as analysts they have a tendency to go easy on the players. NBC (that’s us!) analyst Jeremy Roenick doesn’t seem to have that bias.

In a blog for on the subject of concussions, Roenick singled out a handful of current players for their dangerous hits, and didn’t exactly mince his words in the process.

We can no longer ignore the stupidity of the hits that are still happening today despite the fact that the players know the concussion aspect is such a big part of the game and sports in general.

You saw Chris Stewart get suspended for hitting Niklas Kronwall from behind. You saw Andy Sutton get suspended for jumping in the air — a 6-foot-6 and 240-pound defenseman jumping in the air — to hit Alexei Ponikarovsky. These hits are absolutely unnecessary and the stupidity is beyond belief.

Brendan Shanahan probably never thought he would be so busy doling out suspensions because of the lack of intelligence of so many players in very dangerous situations.

We hear about the respect factor all the time in hockey. If you ask most former players, they’ll say today’s players don’t respect each other like they used to. Whether or not that’s true is debatable. Older generations frequently believe things were better back in the day.

But if it is true, the question becomes, why was there more respect before? What was the mentality of the players? Was there more peer pressure to keep each other honest? Did the older guys take the younger guys aside and say stuff like, “Hey, we’re all in this together. Cool it out there”?

Maybe that’s something the NHLPA needs to explore.

  1. lsxphotog - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Roenick is correct. I see at least one dumb play every night involving a hit. Maybe the NHL and NHLPA should teach everyone how to hit again and how to use hits to your advantage…the majority of players seem to not know how to make them or use them correctly.

  2. haterzgonahate - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    there’s no respect because few teams have enforcers that will deal with the disrespectful player thus commending respect from players.

    case in point, if you hit Gretzky…Semenko would beat you sensless. therefore.. nobody hit Gretzky

    bring back the red line..

  3. hibackhand - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    The hands and sticks come up for hits and scrums now more than in the old days. Are face cages in minor hockey to blame? Ever since Scott Stevens was venerated and idolized for his head-hunting hard open ice hits, people want to emulate him and that style. Is Scott to blame? Are bigger, hard plastic pads to blame? Player development, scouting, sports nutrition, training regimens, etc is much better than it was in the old days and now players are bigger, stronger and faster. So, are players the same level of mean and nasty but just are stronger now? In the movie Swingers, Vince Vaughn makes Gretzky’s head bleed while playing NHL97. So do we blame Trent, Vegas Baby and EA Sports? Are video games in general to blame? What about heavy metal music? Marilyn Manson? Maybe it’s all of these things or none of these things.

    Whatever the cause, Roenick is right, it’s fricken stupid and someone is going to get killed.

  4. buffalomafia - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    As long as the hit isn’ t intentional let them hit! They get paid millions to play a kids game!

  5. east96st - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    “If you ask most former players, they’ll say today’s players don’t respect each other like they used to.”

    You mean like the Broad Street Bullies did? Or Billy Smith, who would swing his goalie stick like an axe and take out guys knees? Or the early 80s Canucks who tried to prove “Slap Shot” wasn’t just a movie? Seems to me it’s been a rough sport for a long time. Yeah, long overdue rules to make sure some poor bastard doesn’t become brain dead are finally being put into place and some dolts are ignoring said rules, but let’s not pretend “old time” hockey was a lovefest. These guys are bigger, stronger, and faster than ever before. I thought Bryan Trottier was one of the more complete players of the early 80s. Solid on offense, defense, face-offs, hard checker, and could give as good as he got in a fight. Guy had a giant heart and a real passion for the game. He was the Captain of the most dominant team of the early 80s. Would he make a top team’s first line today? Shanahan was put in place to make sure the guys that don’t get it, spend time away from the game. As long as the suspensions are handled fairly and impartially, the message will start to sink in.

  6. farvefromover - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    I will never like Roenick after his post lockout comment, “if people don’t like what we did, don’t come out and watch us”. Amazing that he got a legends card in NHL 12, and Bobby Orr didn’t. Fuck yourself Roenick

  7. Jeff - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    JR is right. And yeah, what happened to respect and why?
    Also hibackhand, I couldn’t agree withe you more about Stevens.

  8. chicagostan - Dec 15, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    There is no respect, that is obvious. I believe there’s more to it though, and I would propose two solutions.

    I think the size and speed of the game has changed SO radically that these guys are going much faster when they collide…these hits are severe.

    How to mitigate it? One, make better head protection. That primarily concerns the jaw. Thats where these guys are getting their concussions. Helmet use will be mandatory and they will stay on their heads.

    The other way to solve the problem is radical.

    Go to 4 on 4 hockey.

    Its a different game. The strategy AND tactics are different. You can take runs at guys…you’ll leave a lane open.

    I actually like it, the more I watch it. Whether due to a penalty situation or in overtime, the action is great, you can see plays develop and guys are spaced out on the ice more….collisions generally dont happen.

    It had been talked about some years back…I don’t see that the Players Union should bitch about it….just run more lines…guys wouldn’t be worn out so badly, or suffer collision injuries potentially.

    I dont think it would fly by Pope Bettman, but there you go…and I’ve been watching the game for 47 years.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 16, 2011 at 1:19 AM

      Weirdly enough, I like where your head’s at on this one. It makes a lot of sense, what you’re saying. However, the unfortunate downside manifests in a lot of lost play options – those extra two forwards make for a lot of exciting passing plays and there wouldn’t really be any way to properly fill the void left by their absence.

      It’s a very interesting, unique idea to solve the problem, and it would result in some huge changes in the dynamics of the game for better AND worse, but… I just can’t see it being as exciting.

      I’d sooner look to how the Europeans make five on five work than anything. There are still some major changes the NHL can make – phasing out armour that can shrug off military-grade explosives, for instance, is a good start. No-touch icing, expanding the rinks to international standards, things like that. Exhaust every option before sacrificing five on five. That’s my figuring.

  9. chicagostan - Dec 15, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    In my above diatribe, I meant to say in 4 on 4 , you CANT TAKE A RUN on others…

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