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Concussion discussion: speed at the expense of safety?

Dec 23, 2011, 8:56 PM EDT

Following last week’s alarming rash of concussions, NHL agent Alan Walsh blamed some of the “epidemic” on the increased speed of the game in the post-lockout era. It seems a bit much to ask the league to go back to Dead Puck Era rules just because of such a belief.

Still, it does beg the question: has the increase in speed come at the expense of player safety? If so, what should be done to try to find the right balance? Check out the video below for discussion on that topic.

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  1. loinstache - Dec 23, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    I honestly hope other venues are explored before resorting to measures like the two line pass. I know this is selfish, but as much as I want player safety I also dread a reversion to the clunky neutral zone game.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 24, 2011 at 1:23 AM

      I’m not exactly champing at the bit to bring back the red line either. It’s more like a last resort if switching to lighter, softer pads, adding no-touch icing and punishing coaches and/or GMs in addition to players for headshots and hits from behind don’t work. Basically, I want to systematically strip EVERY other possible source for concussions out before being forced to significantly alter the speed or physicality of the game.

      The battle armour they’re wearing really needs to be fixed. Taking a shoulder in those kind of plates is brutal even if it IS a clean check. Additionally, there needs to be more interest in Messier’s little helmet experiment, as well as Primeau’s concussion indicator (it is Primeau who’s advertising that, right?).

      And since the threat of two or three or maybe no games lost (hey, brilliant idea – maybe we could get some CONSISTENCY on suspension rulings?) for a bad hit doesn’t seem to bother the players, maybe the threat of lost salary would convince their coaches and GMs to get the troops in line. I imagine they’d be entirely less comfortable with cheapshot hits when they’re actually losing their own money instead of just having to stand up in front of the reporters, say they’re sorry and go back to their lives like nothing ever happened.

      If all that shit doesn’t do it, you really have to wonder if lowering the speed is the only option. But I’d prefer never to have to consider it. There are a lot of ideas left to try before that really needs to be contemplated. I’m confident a much better solution can be found, one that doesn’t cost us the high-intensity, fast-paced style of play that’s been so good for the sport in recent years.

  2. Jeff - Dec 24, 2011 at 6:58 AM

    Yes, bringing back the red line should be the last resort.
    As enumerated above, there are plenty of other options try beforre slowing down the game.
    What is Messier’s helmet experiment?

    • danphipps01 - Dec 24, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      He’s been backing a new type of helmet that supposedly reduces the incidence of concussions, though they’re still testing to evaluate how true that is: http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/21/messier-primeau-put-their-weight-behind-helmet-innovations/

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