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NHL hit with third concussion lawsuit

Apr 15, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT

bettmangetty Getty Images

A third group of ex-NHLers — which includes retired players Dave Christian, Reed Larson and William Bennett — have filed a federal class action lawsuit against the NHL regarding concussions and head injuries, per the Associated Press.

More, from AP:

The lawsuit was filed in Minneapolis on Tuesday.

It alleges that the NHL put its players ”at a substantially higher risk” for developing memory loss, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The lawsuit, which is similar to one brought by former football players against the NFL, joins others filed by hockey players in Washington and New York and seeks monetary damages and increased medical monitoring.

The second of the aforementioned three lawsuits was filed last Thursday, one that included former NHLers Dan LaCouture, Dan Keczmer, and Mike Peluso.

The suit maintains that each plaintiff “was, has been and will continue to be damaged as a result of the NHL’s misconduct” while claiming that LaCouture, who played over 300 games in the NHL, “suffers from headaches, irritability, sensitivity to light, change of personality, and depression.”

Damaging that second suit’s credibility, however, is the assertion that NHL legend Gordie Howe died in 2009 from a neurodegenerative disease called Pick’s disease. In fact, Howe is still alive. It was his wife, Colleen, who died of the disease.

The NHL was hit with its first concussion-related lawsuit in November. 

  1. elmerbrownelmerbrown - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    I think Eric Lindros should sue the balls off Scott Stevens

    • killerpgh - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:57 PM

      Or the markers of the helmet he used to wear. That thing must of weighed a ton considering he couldn’t keep his head up coming across the trolley tracks.

      • kaptaanamerica - Apr 16, 2014 at 2:46 AM

        NHL owners should sue the players who caused concussions to key players on their team. I’d like to see Duncan Keith pay monetary damages for basically putting Daniel on the fast track to retirement….

      • elmerbrownelmerbrown - Apr 16, 2014 at 6:10 AM

        One of the stupidest post ever on PHT but its a Pens fan to be expected !

      • WillIEverSeeACupInMyLife? - Apr 16, 2014 at 6:23 AM

        So the fact he was constantly skating with his head down had nothing to do with it?

    • kaptaanamerica - Apr 16, 2014 at 2:44 AM

      How about the players suing the NHLPA and its members for inflicting illegal hits to the head which resulted in penalties and suspensions in game, but not any monetary compensation? The players should pay for the damage they do to each other. Most likely they’d stop being dirty and stop targeting the head.

  2. vbcaps - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    You knew the risk going in…unless you were forced to play against dr advice I don’t see negligence

  3. WillIEverSeeACupInMyLife? - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    Give me a break already…….

  4. stakex - Apr 15, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    Ambulance chasers pure and simple. These lawyers see the big pay day that came from the NFL suit, and they are trying for the big pay day.

    Should be interesting to hear the details of this third suit. The first one named players who had, for the most part, only played a handful of NHL games. The second one seems like it was written by a 12 year old with no hockey knowledge. I have a feeling the details of this third suit will always be pretty funny when they go public.

    • esracerx46 - Apr 15, 2014 at 7:28 PM

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. However, after reading a lot of comments here over the past couple years I think it’s a safe bet someone here could have wrote it. I don’t want to name names, but I think its a safe bet they weren’t 12. I think that’s more of an indictment of the public education system.

  5. thomasvanek - Apr 15, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    Absolutely pathetic. You chose to play in the league and you got paid a ton of money to do so. Don’t sue just to squeeze a little bit more money out you spoiled brats.

  6. hockeyflow33 - Apr 15, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    Most of these guys only have a handful of games at the NHL level and I’m not sure how you prove the NHL level was what caused concussions and not youth, high school, juniors, minor league and/or overseas.

    • clarke16 - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:56 PM

      Exactly the point I was going to make. By the time I was 12–I had had at least 3 concussions (along with a broken nose and numerous stitches to the face). Of course–they were never labeled as such…but I still remember a Doctor shining a light in my eyes while my Dad was over his shoulder in a cloud saying over and over–*You’ve GOT to keep your head up*

      I know I wasn’t the exception. It doesn’t start start in the big leagues…and concussions when you are a child are generally the most traumatic… There isn’t an NHL player who, diagnosed as such or not, hasn’t entered the league without one…

    • joey4id - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      Medical records, testimony from doctors, nurses, etc… these can all be used to prove when a percussion likely occurred. That’s in part how those behind the NFL law proved concussions occurred while playing in the NFL.

      • clarke16 - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:07 PM

        The point is that they’re claiming permanent disability as a result of head injuries whose occurrence extends way before these players entered the NHL–and trying to hold the NHL solely liable (because that’s where the $$$ is) in part for injuries sustained well before the league could be argued to be culpable. The symptoms of concussions aggregative with each occurrence–making your next one that much easier to get than the last…

        So you see–liability is far from a clear-cut case–and beyond that you’ve got to prove negligence…

        Like I said–this has an out-of-court settlement with some funds channeled to the player’s association retirement healthcare fund written all over it…

      • joey4id - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:17 PM

        I too don’t believe any of these suits,will be settled in court.

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:52 PM

        No, the NFL case hinged on the NFL directing medical personnel to purposefully ignore concussion symptoms in players and to understate the long term effects of concussions.

      • joey4id - Apr 16, 2014 at 6:19 AM

        No? And to corroborate that they interviewed the medical staff and reviewed medical files.

      • txflame - Apr 17, 2014 at 7:30 PM

        A percussion? I didn’t know that this suit was about drummers!

  7. pigpen1013 - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    I ended up partially paralyzed and without feeling in my extremities due to a workplace accident when I was making $25 an hour and I get about $1400 per month from the government as a result. These guys made millions (or at least hundreds of thousands) to play a game they loved and now they’re gonna sue the league? Pathetic…

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:56 PM

      I don’t disagree with the suit being pathetic but if you consider the pro level just playing a game then you clearly have no idea what you’re watching.

  8. blomfeld - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:26 PM


    • barkar942 - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      What, No video? JUST CAPS?

    • machosasquatcho - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:30 AM

      Wow, blomfeld. Great comment. Well worth reading.


  9. muckleflugga - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    stick ’em hard make ’em pay

    the issue of gordie howe is not material to that lawsuit beyond matters of convention righted in simple legal processes … but it makes a good talking point while nurturing support from the anti-lawsuit camp, themselves among half-wits needing to rationalize lust for blood …

    flaccid penises and limp libidos growing in proportion to ape-like performance from slope-headed knuckle-dragging apes gooning the north american professional game into a soon to be oblivion … the plastic orgasm soon to be spent

    what is material is the way the nhl manages player safety, and it’s inability to create and maintain a safe workplace … the nhl like the nfl and the ncaa believe they are societies functioning beyond mores and laws of society at large, exempt from notions of common sense and fair play

    but we now know the nfl has been brought to bear

    with more to come as the settlement figures are not being confined by an amount … injuries evolve and concussion damage is never complete until actual death … factor-in losses to families and in particular dependants … keep dat cash register ringin’ honey chile

    the nhl and ncaa are soon to have their hour

    lawyers are going to get rich and those damaged richer … with trickle-down economics the fan will end up paying … justifiable when fans themselves seek gratification in violence, and support violence in the game while buying the product, material commercial goods marketed in support of the nhl, and by refusal to speak-out against the state of the game

    wear it well

    i’m guessing here, but evolving common law will play for legal opinion versus that offered in blogs … and people sitting in jury boxes are likely to be drawn from a cross-section of society not sharing vested interest in profit from bloodsport generally … history in mix with competent medical and scientific opinion will shred the nhl case

    the fact of the matter is, the nhl is absolutely rank with a history of denial as injury and concussion problems continued to evolve … exacerbating damage to those injured by compelling the injured to continue play, hit and fight … those coming back early are exalted while those following competent medical advice are somehow reviled

    look at ken holland, quoted in these pages while lamenting jonathan ericcson’s hand injury … the message was clear … ericcson should have been able to play with a damaged hand, itself needing surgery … why, because back in kenny’s day that’s what men did

    this coming from one of the more respected men in the game is astounding in the current legal climate

    then you had burke and tortorella, weighing value of player self-policing when they should have been advocating for change in the root problem itself … active marketing of violence for profit

    it beggars belief

    the nhl provides a foundation for fighting, and encourages fighting by permitting fights to evolve … going so far as to clear sticks away and let players have at it while ravening fans slobber at the carnage … the same fans oooh and aaaah when guys like travis moen or george perros are carried semi-conscious off the ice

    [ gee eddie, watch them pat each other on the head, it’s all about respect ]

    in-game sanction for fighting is a five minute penalty … this while understanding the rules of the game prohibit deliberate attempt to injure with sanction involving game ejection and further review … how is ability to slam a fist into someone’s face or temple not an attempt to injure

    sell that idiocy to an impartial jury

    and the nhl permits savage play involving bludgeoning hits on defenceless players … good examples are brooks orpik take-outs of loui erikkson and jonathan toews, though you’d need a calculator to ring up the overall tally season-in and season-out … both hits brought lost-time and costly injuries but orpik was permitted to continue free of sanction

    the absurdity is breathtaking

    apparently the rules of the nhl game in complement with a variable yet mythical code of player behaviour salted with the stink of machismo, permit conduct precipitating millions upon millions of dollars given away to lost-time injury … with many of those injuries causing loss of brain function and premature death

    sell that idiocy to an impartial jury

    the nhl glorifies and markets fighting and violent play … violence has become its chief currency … small men in shiny suits profiting at the expense of player health and actual life expectancy … boogaard probert rypien, the list goes on and on

    excellence in skilled play has been trumped by ability of teams to simply play like thugs … the bruins’ last cup win provides ample proof … skill was trumped by the team willing to reach back into that thirty percent of the brain representing the vestigial cro-magnon

    supported and encouraged by an nhl officiating system that has a range as wide as the mood of beer sales as playoffs are extended and lengthened, prolonging the over-all bleed on the fan’s capacity to pay and pay and pay

    but in its denial package, the nhl will claim it was itself unaware of the damages carried by its culture of violent play, this while continuing to foster that very culture to considerable profit … yesssss

    the nhl may argue accepted risk, as bleated herein … the nhl may argue player’s right to self determination as bleated herein

    arguments that find credibility in milieu feeding and profiting from those maxims, going so far as to win a tsk tsk tsking support while attacking injured players after the fact while they seek justice … you’re good to go bud as long as we can feed like parasites off you while you’re healthy, wot

    the nhl has truly put its tit in a wringer

    the courts function as an extension of the mores and beliefs of a regulated and civilized society … i doubt allegiance and favour can be bought and sold in the courts as it can be bought and sold by the snake-oil salesmen running professional hockey

    stick ’em hard make ’em pay

    • clarke16 - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:28 PM

      These cases never make it to trial, Muckly. The lawyers will milk this thing until the NHL has had enough and it will all be settled by the league slopping an extra serving of gruel into the NHLPA retirement healthcare fund…

      • blomfeld - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:54 PM

        ps Flugga: I sense that you might be putting too much stock in humans as a life form ? Truth be known, I’d personally trade places with a horse or a cow in a ‘heartbeat’ were I to be given the chance …

        *** Top 5 ‘Lowest’ Life Forms ***

        1) Rats
        2) Serpents
        3) Humans
        4) Mosquitoes
        5) Pit Bull Terriers from Surrey BC

    • blomfeld - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      “has been trumped by ability of teams to simply play like thugs” …

      Dearest Comrade Flugga …

      With all due respect friend, isn’t life as we know it not in ‘itself’ a game of endless thuggery ? Would you call a wolf who chases down a rabbit for sustenance a thug ? Would you call a bird who chooses to eat a harmless beetle a thug ? Would you call the fish who dines on hapless plankton a thug ? The bottom line is that no one has the answer to any of this except for ‘he’ … and as ‘he’ is my witness, we LA Kings are now going to send the ‘entire’ Sharks team to ‘knee’ surgery ! … inshallah (God willing)

      Don’t ever let a Shark see your car break down or take food from your table !

    • barkar942 - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      Hey muck- so you get dressed in the morning and you decide to just slip on those Nikes and you decide not to tie your shoes. You proceed to trip over your shoe laces and hit your head on the floor and get a concussion. You have been told from the time you were a young child that you could trip and fall and get hurt if you don’t tie your shoelaces.
      You made a decision not to tie your shoelaces, even though you knew there was inherent risk from your decision. Unhappy that your decision now has left you injured long term, you decide to sue the shoelace manufacturer, Nike, and Lumber Liquidators who sold you the hardwood flooring that you cracked your skull on.
      The players who are suing the NHL because they suffered long term injuries made a decision to play a game for a living that has frozen rubber discs being flung around at 100 MPH, sticks flying everywhere that could put out your eye, sharp skates that could sever limbs and solid boards and ice that can rattle your brain around just like that hardwood floor, and fully being told that there was inherent risk to their person by making that decision to participate.
      Who is to say that these players didn’t trip over a shoelace at one time and hit their head on that hardwood floor, and that is the reason they have health issues and not because they played in the NHL? Don’t the players have to shoulder some of the responsibility for their choice to play hockey?
      Strictly a money grab and I agree with clarke16, settlement into the retirement health care fund is what will come of all of this.
      (And don’t take me as insensitive to their cause. I applaud all sports that are now understanding more about concussions and doing much more to protect players from closed head injuries. )

    • stixzidinia - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      I would present guys like Mike Peluso and Jack Carlson under oath the numerous statements by themselves in print and on camera glamorizing themselves and the NHL Enforcer culture they capitalized on both in and out of hockey. Jack Carlson was a plaintiff in last week’s ridiculously stupid filing, this guy is one of the Hanson Brothers. And aside from numerous Slapshot films capitalizing not only on fighting, but that type of hockey in general, the guy has done hundreds of paid events capitalizing on fight culture in hockey.

  10. muckleflugga - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:58 PM


    of course … all well argued in the past … the nfl suit was settled out of court … look for the ncaa to do the same

    out of court settlements are a powerful incentive to remove decisions from being folded into common law … a single favourable ruling in the courts for like-minded and like-situated plaintiffs will open floodgates with succeeding decisions growing the foundation in common law

    punitive damages will play where negligence was knowingly fostered and permitted to continue

    big advantage plaintiff in an area of law currently asking jurors to accept movement of abstract rulings from loosely related findings in other areas of common law

    the trick is convincing a plaintiff to settle when a big payday is clearly at hand

    out of court settlements will involve remediation in proportion to damage suffered by plaintiffs but like the nfl, settlement for chronically and mentally impaired will be open-ended through injured player’s death

    all leagues will likely make concession to argue a self-insured system modelled on workers’ compensation legislation which eliminate fault imposed on either party

    no more lawsuits … no potential for punitive damages

    they will provide ongoing compensation commensurate with the players earning capacity

    the issue will live or die on agreement as to what is a player’s effective earning life … in wcb legislation compensation typically ends as mandated retirement ages begin

    the leagues don’t like these agreements because their own regulatory functions are brought closer to those of governments and society generally

    autocratic rule is put at risk and nothing makes the capitalist robber baron more nervous than foolish notions of democracy

  11. muckleflugga - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:54 PM


    i appreciate your argument but

    common law is littered with cases roughly following your example … a farmer successfully sued a ladder manufacturer for not warning him that he had to put the ladder on a solid base before using it to climb …

    he grounded the ladder on a pile of manure next to his barn, then went up to do some roofing work … the sun moved and thawed the manure … coming down, the ladder sank into the pile and he was badly injured in the ensuing fall, missing the otherwise cushioning pile of manure …

    [ farming is a non-compensable industry in spite of the fact it’s right up there with logging and mining for lost-time injuries and deaths ]

    the farmer accepted risk implicit in climbing a ladder the day he made the purchase … the ladder manufacturer was implicitly aware of risk in its product by placing warnings regarding safe loading, but nothing regarding safe use was offered by way of education … it’s insurer shelled-out large

    players playing hockey accept risk from day one … equipment alone implies risk … but to what extent are players made aware of limits in their own physiognomy or forces at play in hockey despite protection offered by equipment

    like the ladder manufacturer, leagues and coaches have further obligation to educate players accordingly … not once, but before they take the ice for practises or games …

    leagues and coaches are not entitled to sublimate risk, hide risk, or put players already injured to further risk

    argument in all these lawsuits maintains the league had obligation to educate themselves as to risk, then continually educate its players … the nhl apparently claims it was not aware of these risks, and when it was made aware it educated its players accordingly

    education implies a means of testing to determine if players actually comprehend and synthesize information as to risk … the best test of comprehension is through practical application as players perform on the ice, towards themselves and towards an opponent

    and, there must be evidence of discipline offered for non-compliance by players made aware of risk … the nhl claims it has made changes to rules addressing current understandings regarding concussions and equipment itself yet the massive killing hits continue without sanction, and fighting continues merrily as a means of self-policing, without sanction beyond the time-honoured five minute major

    undeniably aware of the effect of forces at play in punishing hits and in fighting, the league has not made further accommodation to stop the behaviour … more damaging is efforts at fixing problem areas including icing, including rule changes, imply an awareness of problems

    while crushing hits and fighting are only addressed if subjective analysis is able to determine intent … this while ignoring hits and fights in their entirety through consequence including lingering damage

    you can effectively destroy a player like jonathan toews if it appears the head was not a principal point of content … human factors engineers brought by plaintiffs will massacre the nhl on these matters alone

    its inability to make it workplace safer through meaningful rule changes, education and discipline makes the league all the more culpable before an objective and impartial jury

    inaction in the face of awareness brings potentially huge punitive damages into play

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:57 PM

      If your comment is longer than the post, no one will read it.

  12. muckleflugga - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:20 AM


    your point is well taken

    the would-be settlement in the nfl suit was denied because its language effectively terminated further legal efforts against the developmental leagues … the ncaa particularly … bloated, smug, rich and with an amazing history ignoring welfare of its players

    the ivory towers were shaken at penn state … they’re going to topple throughout the ncaa once these lawsuits continue to grow

    junior hockey leagues are next in line for all the reasons the nhl is being targeted, but i don’t think it will be as hard to quantify responsibility as we might believe … for reasons defined by joey … it’s a rare game that is not video-taped at any level … evidence in timely support of claims, and fights are well chronicled everywhere

    players making it to professional hockey are in the minority, so of course there exist players with damage who’ve never seen the nhl …

    but there is no way the level of force through hitting and fighting in minor hockey is comparable to that in the professional game where size and strength are premium

  13. muckleflugga - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:29 AM


    following the law of twitter, it can be argued i.q. is measured in direct proportion to characters employ in offering rejoinder

  14. muckleflugga - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:29 AM


    no, i should be more kind … i apologize

    you made an interesting comment about the nfl suit that might have been augmented with a link to the suit in question with an actual reference to the appropriate paragraphs

    it should be evident i could care less about opinion, not seeking approval one way or the other … i like to exercise the muse, and that is enough … read or not, it feels good to articulate ideas … i have been read extensively in forums and in medium that continue to deliver passive income, so that is gratification enough

    i rail at cheap one line dismissal because one-liners are usually empty, lacking in stimulation for anyone including author …

    no one grows

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