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Lindros: “the game’s gotten too fast”

Dec 28, 2011, 5:03 PM EDT

Eric Lindros AP

Eric Lindros thinks the NHL is partly to blame for all the concussions we’ve been seeing lately.

In an interview with QMI Agency, the former star whose career was cut short due to repeated concussions condemned the rule changes the NHL made following the 2004-05 lockout.

“The game’s gotten too fast,” Lindros said.

“The red line is out and the game’s quicker. It’s inevitable there’s going to be more (concussions). They knew that when they took the red line out. So they sacrificed that for speed.”

The way Lindros puts it, the NHL deliberately traded safety for profit. Sort of like the company in Fight Club that Edward Norton’s character works for.

A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don’t do one.

It’s doubtful the NHL was quite so calculating. Or, if it took player safety into mind whatsoever. Not because it didn’t care, but rather because it was too focused on improving the entertainment value of the game. Remember, the NHL product wasn’t exactly drawing rave reviews at the time.

Regardless, we’re hearing more and more calls for two-line passes to be whistled down again. Also, for limited interference to be allowed in certain situations, like permitting a defenseman to block for his partner on puck retrievals.

Lindros will likely field more concussion-related questions Saturday when he participates in the Winter Classic alumni game in Philadelphia.

  1. Stiller43 - Dec 28, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    2 line passes must stay! Its bs you cant pass across the red line when youre just behind our own blue line.

    I know people can adjust, but it would REALLY slow down the game and have to go more east west…nobody wants that.

  2. donttouchthedirtypenny - Dec 28, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    The red line came out to help teams bust the trap. Still teams are trapping today with success, if the red line goes back in we will return to the dead puck era.

  3. thomaspratt - Dec 28, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    If Lindros truly believes they knew opening up the game would sacrifice player safety, I don’t see why we need to listen to another word.

    I’m getting very worried the reactionary NHL will make knee-jerk changes that will compromise the speed and entertainment value of the game. This is an urgent issue, but it requires well-considered changes that won’t take the NHL back to the dark dead puck era

  4. warpstonebc - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    I originally hated the removal of the two line pass… I was wrong. The game is much more skillful with stretch passes and nifty skating than it was with the clutch and grab of the dead-puck era neutral zone.

    Look, we can’t reinstate the two line pass. Everyone knows this. The game would devolve. There is a serious option to keep the speed and reduce the injuries and that’s to make hits that used to be borderline in the dead-puck era turn into penalties in this era.

    You can argue that it makes the game less physical and you might be right. But what other route is there than to minimize the acceptability of contact on vulnerable players at high speed? We can’t expect the league to play this fast and keep hits worthy of Scott Stevens’ shoulder legal in this era. We have to choose one and clearly we’d rather see the scoring stay. The choice should be obvious if you’re not a neanderthal like Milbury, etc.

  5. govtminion - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    It’s worth pointing out that many of the worst concussions we’ve seen over the past few years had nothing to do with the speed of the game, the red line, or any of that. Marc Savard comes to mind- put forty lines on the ice, and he’d still have suffered his career-ender. I’m willing to bet that the reason it seems like there’s more concussions is that we’re NOTICING now, not that there are MORE of them. Players aren’t hiding them as much, trainers are watching better, and it’s because we know more about the damage and symptoms.

    That’s not to say Lindros’ complaints aren’t valid- but I’d be very interested to find out (somehow) whether there really are more concussions now than ten years ago, or if we’re just hearing more about them.

  6. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    The best solution would be to switch to the same ice they use for IIHF games. It would be the best way to maintain the current speed of the game without continuing to legislate against hits. Bigger ice means more room for skilled players and less collisions. Too bad that will never happen.

    • tjv027 - Dec 28, 2011 at 9:22 PM

      Soccer on skates. No thanks.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 28, 2011 at 9:59 PM

        The constant rule changes are making the NHL look like that already and if players keep getting hurt more rules will be made about how you can and can’t hit. No more rule changes and a bigger ice surface is the best compromise if it were possible.

  7. lmd8491 - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    The size of football fields, basketball courts and hockey rinks were based on people who were smaller and slower. I wonder what the sizes would be if those sports started today?

  8. philcommander - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    I think they should do away with the ice altogether…replace it with grass. Instead of skates they could use cleats and instead of red lines and blue lines they could use…goal lines.
    Get rid of the puck too…use a brown ball thats an odd oblong shape.
    Instead of three periods it could be four quarters…
    I think I’m onto something here….

  9. lonespeed - Dec 28, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Slowing the speed of the game doesn’t eliminate skating with your head down. Did Eric look up during the interview?

  10. drewsylvania - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    I wonder if Eric finds the game too fast because he gets headaches trying to follow them around the ice.

  11. emperorzero - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    The answer is to go to Olympic size ice in my opinion; however, god forbid if the wners sacrificed some prime seating. I wonder though if the Penguins would lose more money from the loss of seats or from Crosby missing games.

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