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‘Headshots are a serious problem,’ says Nash

Nov 21, 2013, 3:58 PM EDT

ricknashsgetty Getty Images

After suffering a head injury that kept him out of the Rangers’ lineup for over a month, Rick Nash has a message for his NHLPA brethren:

“We’re all in this together.”

Translation: Let’s knock it off with the head shots, like the injury-causing one San Jose’s Brad Stuart gave Nash in early October.

“I understand how it happens,” Nash said, per the New York Post. “The game is so fast, things happen quickly, and I know that I’ve had some hits that have been close calls, but we all have to take responsibility for changing some of the things we do out there.

“I understand that we don’t want to have huge suspensions for plays that are spontaneous and I’m OK with that, but the players as a group and the union have to take more responsibility for stopping these kinds of hits.

“It’s up to the guys to have more respect for each other and our careers.”

Stuart was suspended three games for the hit, costing the veteran blue-liner $55,384.62 in forfeited salary. But that didn’t help Nash get back in the lineup any sooner.

“Headshots are a serious problem in the game. You see them all the time,” said Nash.

“Something has to change.”

Related: Bruins beat Rangers in Nash’s return

  1. amityvillefun - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    I said the same damn thing on the forum and I got tons of “thumbs down” over it.

    Only way to get the players to respect one another is to make the player responsible for the injury sit out until the other player can return. Only then will they hold up and maybe think twice before knocking a player senseless. Or to hit them in the wallet…very, very hard.

    I love hitting in the NHL, but the players have to be responsible about it. With all the concussions, it’s obvious that the existing rules don’t prevent them from occurring.

    Go ahead, thumbs away….

    • amityvillefun - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:19 PM

  2. jhaegs - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    If you injure someone, you should be out until they are medically cleared to play again. That’ll make people think twice about hits to the head. Right now, the punishment isn’t harsh enough to steer them away.

    • 950003cups - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Easy for you to say. So, by that logic, Martin Hanzel, a clean player, should never play again, because he was the last one to hit Pronger. Pronger hasn’t played again, and is not officially retired.

      So Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have to handle some 4th liner with kid gloves because his injury would take them out of the game for an entire playoff series if the guiy simply says “I have a headache after that hit”

      That’s why the NHLPA would never allow that.

      • hennessey1200hp - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        Right on, the players need to police themselves to make a difference big hits are great just respect each other. Keep handing out large fines/suspensions as needed. The only problem is for this to really get better fighting may need to be eliminated…those are head shots too.

    • joey4id - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:11 PM

      what do you do to a player who concusses another player during a fight?

  3. 950003cups - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    If they want to undercut a large portion of the accidental head hits they need to slow down the game by eliminating the Trapezoid and bring back the “Two Line Pass” violation.

    In other words, make the game boring.

    This is a business. They’ll never make a change to the game that hurts the bottom line…$$$$$

    Someone has to invent a helmet that has a shell over another shell with a small amount of some kind of hydraulic effect and takes some of the shock out of hits there.

    • joey4id - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      if the NFL and Riddell were unable to invent a better helmet, then you can bet it won’t happen. Besides, research has proven that no form of head gear can prevent a concussion whether its a slap to the head or an elbow. head gear will prevent skulls from fractures, but not protect the brain from compressing after a shot.

  4. amityvillefun - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Pronger had multiple concussions from various players hitting him. Maybe if they punished the first guy more severely he might still be able to play!

    Obviously, they would have to be able to determine that it was a legitimate concussion and not just some schmoe faking it.

    It would be extremely “bush league” for a player to fake a concussion or other serious injury.

    • 950003cups - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      By Bush League, you mean kind of like when players look like they’re squeezing pimples on their faces to try to draw blood for a double minor? Don’t put anything past a hard up coach.

    • joey4id - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:10 PM

      so how do you handle case of one player concussing another during the course of a fight?

  5. muckleflugga - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    pronger is the poster boy for goes around comes around

  6. jhaegs - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Hanzal, clean? What about the hits on Dustin Brown and Jeff Petry? Obviously those rare season or career ending hits would have to be worked out a little differently. Bertuzzi, on the other hand, should have been banned from the NHL…

  7. jhaegs - Nov 21, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    “By Bush League, you mean kind of like when players look like they’re squeezing pimples on their faces to try to draw blood for a double minor? Don’t put anything past a hard up coach.”

    So that’s why Andrew Shaw’s face looks like my ex-wife’s a$$!

  8. stonebullet - Nov 21, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Get rid of the instigator penalty and you can immediately fix the culture on the ice. It won’t be an overnight fix to headshots, but in time, players can truly police themselves all the time. Knee-on-knee, stick infractions, all of those things will be reduced. There is no fear of consequence anymore because of the instigator rule.

  9. jhaegs - Nov 21, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    Agreed. Unless you’re Ray Emery dragging the opposing goalie out of their own net.

  10. sjsharks66 - Nov 21, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Jhaegs we all know you are some 13 year old kid. You never had a wife.

  11. jhaegs - Nov 21, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    To be honest: I’m 26, I have a wife, a 3yr old son, and a baby due 4/23/14. The ex wife with the pimply butt is just a made up fantasy… 😦

  12. storminator16 - Nov 21, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    Remember when Nash gave someone an elbow last season and he didn’t even get fine for it? Ah, good times.

  13. jhaegs - Nov 21, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    In reality, she was just some broad I met on PHT. I didn’t get her name, but she called herself sjsharks66sMom…. Zing!

  14. muckleflugga - Nov 21, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    players have been policing themselves from the fifties onward to little or no effect…

    the instigator penalty has done nothing to control fighting, nor has it induced dirty play that like self policing, has been with the game since it went from radio to television

    what self-effacing nabobs like burke and tortorella do is roll-out hackneyed cliches upon which their witless blood loving sycophants can build a platform claiming fighting and violence is an inherent part of hockey

    it never was but is, because of need to inflate lagging box office in non traditional markets particularly

    the nhl needs something to liven-up a game smothered by big men on small rinks playing what constitutes rugby at twenty five miles an hour. responding to those needs with the moore vs bertuzzi incident seemingly forgotten, the game is again taking on the trappings of professional wrestling

    what better way to alleviate another utterly boring nhl defensive trap snooze-fest than fostering an environment promoting violence –show without substance related to the game itself

    the real problem is the refusal by the nhl to enforce the laws of the game, a problem faced in soccer that moved violence from the field into the streets…perhaps the rocket surgeons dragging their feet in hockey should examine what happened in great britain and in europe

    hockey in its current state is quite simply backward, trying to exist in a sophisticated world wearied by war and violence and murder

    neanderthals pandering neanderthals

    the best indicator of hockey’s future moving on its current mandate toward violence is its status in canada, where minor hockey is going backward rapidly against massive growth in passive non violent sports such as soccer

    professional hockey in its current state will go the way of the roller derby

    • skr213 - Nov 21, 2013 at 8:24 PM

      ah, muckleflugga, I can always count on you to use too many words to say absolutely nothing.

    • cofran2004 - Nov 22, 2013 at 8:26 AM

      you’re kidding, right? you wrote a wall-o’-text, and its about how hockey is dying? Nevermind the numbers that suggest at worse that it’s maintaining its current level of popularity, you basically just said that people don’t want the violence.

      Lies. Flat out. People love blood-sport. I’m a mild-mannered banker by day. Get me to a hockey arena and I’m… well… rude to say the least. It’s a release for us.

      And mandate toward violence…. are you friggin’ kidding me?? I was watching MSG’s rerun of the 94 eastern conference finals. THAT was violent. There were hits away from the puck, punches thrown on every hit, and just plain brutal blind side hits, almost NONE of which were called for penalties. The game looks almost NOTHING like it did even 19 years ago. True, that was a rivalry, but still… If the NHL is trending toward anything, it’s not MORE violence… It’d definitely less.

  15. skr213 - Nov 21, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    I’d take Nash’s comments more seriously if they came before he had such a self-interest in the subject.

  16. nj666 - Nov 21, 2013 at 9:05 PM

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