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06-09-2011, 12:48 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: North of the Tank
Hockey plays. We will have them until hockey runs out of players.
"The hitting is what our league is all about," Kings coach Terry Murray said Wednesday.
"But the players need to educate themselves and each other about these hits to the head. It's almost like a skill that they need to develop."
This issue is reminiscent of the way the media covers hurricanes and earthquakes.
There is sorrow and hand-wringing and quasi-empathy. Then the cameras pack up and the reporters go home and the real suffering begins.
But is Rule 48 a deterrent? Not so far.
The issue is cultural. Get rid of the hard "protective" pads that players use as cudgels.
"We never wore those when I played," Murray said. "They're too hard, they're dangerous and the league is concerned about them."
And find a way to stop bashing heads, no matter if the hitter is 6-foot-5 and the hittee is 5-foot-6, just as the players find a way to control their sticks.
Redefine a "hockey play" as a play that actually involves a puck, instead of punishing a player for being near one.
If it means lengthening the suspensions, fine.
If it means stretching the power plays to 8 or 10 minutes, to make violence something that loses games, fine.
Hockey can be robust and passionate and physical without gurneys and paramedics.
No one is asking for guaranteed safety. But it's reasonable to wonder why it must be life-diminishing.
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