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Concussion numbers were staggering in NHL's 2011-12 - CBC's Tim Wharnsby

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Old
04-06-2012, 01:19 PM
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Concussion numbers were staggering in NHL's 2011-12 - CBC's Tim Wharnsby

Wharnsby writes that 90 NHL players have lost a combined 1,700 man-games to concussions and concussion symptoms this season. He terms this 2011-12 season the Season of the Concussion.

The St. Louis Blues lead with 160 man-games lost. On the Canucks, Daniel Sedin, Keith Ballard, Sami Salo have all missed significant playing time with concussions this season.
Depending on whether you're a half-full or half-empty type, you may be pleased hockey welcomed back Sidney Crosby, David Perron, Ryan Miller, Nicklas Backstrom, Joni Pitkanen and several others from concussions at some point this season, and that the Canucks, Bruins and Blackhawks remain hopeful they will see the return of Daniel Sedin, Nathan Horton and Jonathan Toews, respectively, in the playoffs later this month.

Or you may be distressed that far too many NHLers like Chris Pronger, Carey Price, Simon Gagne, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Mike Sauer still have cloudy immediate or long-term futures because of a concussion.
...
The numbers are staggering. When the regular season concludes on Saturday, almost 90 players and 1,700 man games will be lost to head injuries or concussion-related symptoms. Some players sat out as little as a game. Meanwhile, Blue Jackets defenceman Radek Martinek will miss 75 games because of a concussion he suffered in his seventh game back on Oct. 21.

The Blues have been hit the hardest with more than 160 man-games lost. Perron, Andy McDonald, Alex Steen, Carlo Colaiacovo, Matt D'Agostini and Kris Russell all missed time this season with a head injury. The Wild and Penguins were next at with 120 and 145, respectively, with three nights to go.

There were some eyebrows raised at the NHL general manager meetings, when the predominant thought among the GMs was that enough was being done to curb concussions. Really?
http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opin...n-2011-12.html

So what is the solution?

Make visors mandatory?

Ban all head shots? If so how do you keep fighting in the NHL?

Instead of a mandatory minor for an illegal check to the head make it a mandatory major and a game misconduct?

Longer suspensions? Perhaps give much less weight to repeat offender status.

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04-06-2012, 01:22 PM
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Mouthguards mantidory should be step #1.

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Old
04-06-2012, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by deckercky View Post
Mouthguards mantidory should be step #1.
According to Bob Mckenzie of TSN studies have shown that mouthguards have no impact on concussion rates.

Bob McKenzie‏ @TSNBobMcKenzie
@habsinsideout1 Unless there is new data, neurologists tell me no empirical proof mouthguards prevent concussions. Strange but true.
3:01 PM - 2 Apr 12
https://twitter.com/#!/TSNBobMcKenzi...36420437463041

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04-06-2012, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
Wharnsby writes that 90 NHL players have lost a combined 1,700 man-games to concussions and concussion symptoms this season. He terms this 2011-12 season the Season of the Concussion.

The St. Louis Blues lead with 160 man-games lost. On the Canucks, Daniel Sedin, Keith Ballard, Sami Salo have all missed significant playing time with concussions this season.
Depending on whether you're a half-full or half-empty type, you may be pleased hockey welcomed back Sidney Crosby, David Perron, Ryan Miller, Nicklas Backstrom, Joni Pitkanen and several others from concussions at some point this season, and that the Canucks, Bruins and Blackhawks remain hopeful they will see the return of Daniel Sedin, Nathan Horton and Jonathan Toews, respectively, in the playoffs later this month.

Or you may be distressed that far too many NHLers like Chris Pronger, Carey Price, Simon Gagne, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Mike Sauer still have cloudy immediate or long-term futures because of a concussion.
...
The numbers are staggering. When the regular season concludes on Saturday, almost 90 players and 1,700 man games will be lost to head injuries or concussion-related symptoms. Some players sat out as little as a game. Meanwhile, Blue Jackets defenceman Radek Martinek will miss 75 games because of a concussion he suffered in his seventh game back on Oct. 21.

The Blues have been hit the hardest with more than 160 man-games lost. Perron, Andy McDonald, Alex Steen, Carlo Colaiacovo, Matt D'Agostini and Kris Russell all missed time this season with a head injury. The Wild and Penguins were next at with 120 and 145, respectively, with three nights to go.

There were some eyebrows raised at the NHL general manager meetings, when the predominant thought among the GMs was that enough was being done to curb concussions. Really?
http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opin...n-2011-12.html

So what is the solution?

Make visors mandatory?

Ban all head shots? If so how do you keep fighting in the NHL?

Instead of a mandatory minor for an illegal check to the head make it a mandatory major and a game misconduct?

Longer suspensions? Perhaps give much less weight to repeat offender status.
Require all players to wear full face shields, make better helmets and reduce the hard plastics in elbow pads and shoulder pads.

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04-06-2012, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
According to Bob Mckenzie of TSN studies have shown that mouthguards have no impact on concussion rates.

Bob McKenzie‏ @TSNBobMcKenzie
@habsinsideout1 Unless there is new data, neurologists tell me no empirical proof mouthguards prevent concussions. Strange but true.
3:01 PM - 2 Apr 12
https://twitter.com/#!/TSNBobMcKenzi...36420437463041
I can understand why though, isn't a concussion a bruising of the brain from smacking against the skull? I don't see how a mouth guard would help that when someone's head snaps back due to an impact collision.

I say the NHL needs better helmets, softer shoulder and elbow pads, and stricter suspensions for deliberate illegal head hits. Something in the area of an automatic 41 game suspension for first time offenders, 82 game suspensions for second time offenders, and a life-long ban for third time offenders.

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04-06-2012, 01:44 PM
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The mouthguard thing is to protect the jaw IIRC.

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04-06-2012, 01:49 PM
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I'd like to know more about what collisions are causing the most concussions. If it's the open ice blind side forearm shives to the head, that's easy to solve: super long suspensions until they get the point. Is it from head ricocheting into the glass after a body check? More forgiving boards and better helmets. Either way I think the hard plastic caps on shoulder and elbow pads have to go.

Just curious, does anyone know what kind of shoulder pads Rome wears? I maintain that his hit on Horton was clean (and glorious), but I have to wonder if that hit in an old pair of Murray Baron shoulder pads would have been less severe.

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04-06-2012, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by PRNuck View Post
I'd like to know more about what collisions are causing the most concussions. If it's the open ice blind side forearm shives to the head, that's easy to solve: super long suspensions until they get the point. Is it from head ricocheting into the glass after a body check? More forgiving boards and better helmets. Either way I think the hard plastic caps on shoulder and elbow pads have to go.

Just curious, does anyone know what kind of shoulder pads Rome wears? I maintain that his hit on Horton was clean (and glorious), but I have to wonder if that hit in an old pair of Murray Baron shoulder pads would have been less severe.
According to Mike Murphy when he suspended Rome, it was a good hockey play and but for the fact it was split second late, it was a legal body check.
Q. The suspension was for the lateness of the hit.

MIKE MURPHY: Yes. The lateness combined with the injury.

Q. Without speculating too much, had that hit occurred quicker, a split second after he released it, would that hit have been deemed legal under Rule 48?

MIKE MURPHY: This has nothing to do with Rule 48. This is just an interference penalty, an interference hit. If it was immediate after he released the puck, it would be a legal hit. We have them all the time.

Q. Because it's a north/south hit?

MIKE MURPHY: North/south play. And we viewed it as that, too.
Given that characterization you have to shake your head at the length of the suspension.

And then you have Boychuk on Raymond - it was not just late it was a pure interference hit as Raymond did not just give up possession of the puck. No penalty and no suspension.

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04-06-2012, 02:22 PM
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Make equipment smaller, you have these armoured knights running around the rink... Its one thing i agree with cherry.

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04-06-2012, 02:25 PM
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Here is something that may make the NHL teams finally wake up.

Liability insurers for the NHL are considering excluding concussions as an injury peril that they will cover. In that case the NHL team will be on the hook for the entire salary while a player is out of the line-up. The standard clause of insurance coverage kicks in after a deductible of so many games missed.

That hits the teams in the pocket book and that may finally really get the attention of the owners.
Now insurance companies specializing in sports say that the league's 30 teams will have to absorb the risk of million-dollar contracts alone as the number of players sidelined increases.

And if that were to happen, NHL teams would not be able to get coverage for players who suffer head injuries. Teams would be on the hook for injured players' multimillion-dollar contracts without any compensation from insurance companies.

"First and foremost it is potentially devastating," Howard Bloom of Sports Business News told CTV's Canada AM. "Its implications are really very, very terrifying for the National Hockey League and the sport of hockey."

The Penguins have managed to sidestep the huge payout for Crosby's $9-million a year contract as the team has an insurance policy, which covers the superstar's absence if he is injured and out of the lineup for more than 30 games.
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/201...#ixzz1rI2GWgv1

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04-06-2012, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
According to Mike Murphy when he suspended Rome, it was a good hockey play and but for the fact it was split second late, it was a legal body check.
Q. The suspension was for the lateness of the hit.

MIKE MURPHY: Yes. The lateness combined with the injury.

Q. Without speculating too much, had that hit occurred quicker, a split second after he released it, would that hit have been deemed legal under Rule 48?

MIKE MURPHY: This has nothing to do with Rule 48. This is just an interference penalty, an interference hit. If it was immediate after he released the puck, it would be a legal hit. We have them all the time.

Q. Because it's a north/south hit?

MIKE MURPHY: North/south play. And we viewed it as that, too.
Given that characterization you have to shake your head at the length of the suspension.

And then you have Boychuk on Raymond - it was not just late it was a pure interference hit as Raymond did not just give up possession of the puck. No penalty and no suspension.
It was pure ******** and further feeds the theory that the NHL head office wanted to put the screws to the Canucks. Given Shanahan's calculation, Rome got something like a 48 game suspension.

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04-06-2012, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
Here is something that may make the NHL teams finally wake up.

Liability insurers for the NHL are considering excluding concussions as an injury peril that they will cover. In that case the NHL team will be on the hook for the entire salary while a player is out of the line-up. The standard clause of insurance coverage kicks in after a deductible of so many games missed.

That hits the teams in the pocket book and that may finally really get the attention of the owners.
Now insurance companies specializing in sports say that the league's 30 teams will have to absorb the risk of million-dollar contracts alone as the number of players sidelined increases.

And if that were to happen, NHL teams would not be able to get coverage for players who suffer head injuries. Teams would be on the hook for injured players' multimillion-dollar contracts without any compensation from insurance companies.

"First and foremost it is potentially devastating," Howard Bloom of Sports Business News told CTV's Canada AM. "Its implications are really very, very terrifying for the National Hockey League and the sport of hockey."

The Penguins have managed to sidestep the huge payout for Crosby's $9-million a year contract as the team has an insurance policy, which covers the superstar's absence if he is injured and out of the lineup for more than 30 games.
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/201...#ixzz1rI2GWgv1
Thats a good plan as well. Owners talk a good talk, but they are only serious about getting rid of concussions provided they don't lose any money from it.

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04-06-2012, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
According to Mike Murphy when he suspended Rome, it was a good hockey play and but for the fact it was split second late, it was a legal body check.
Q. The suspension was for the lateness of the hit.

MIKE MURPHY: Yes. The lateness combined with the injury.

Q. Without speculating too much, had that hit occurred quicker, a split second after he released it, would that hit have been deemed legal under Rule 48?

MIKE MURPHY: This has nothing to do with Rule 48. This is just an interference penalty, an interference hit. If it was immediate after he released the puck, it would be a legal hit. We have them all the time.

Q. Because it's a north/south hit?

MIKE MURPHY: North/south play. And we viewed it as that, too.
Given that characterization you have to shake your head at the length of the suspension.

And then you have Boychuk on Raymond - it was not just late it was a pure interference hit as Raymond did not just give up possession of the puck. No penalty and no suspension.
Ahh I forgot it was because Rome let too many mississippis pass.

I wish they had also asked the following question:
Q. Mike, who is your bestie and what team does his son play for?

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04-06-2012, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Swartzwelder View Post
Make equipment smaller, you have these armoured knights running around the rink... Its one thing i agree with cherry.
Smaller and softer. There's no reason shoulder pads and elbow pads have to have hard exterior. As softer exterior would provide just as much protection to the wearer.

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04-06-2012, 02:40 PM
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Suspend a player for an illegal hit, and have them sit out another, better player. The players union will explode, but taking the Keith hit/suspension as an example...did that dissuade the Blackhawks, or even Keith?

Either that or the roster spot for that player remains vacant, as in they can only dress 17 skaters until the suspension is served.

That and the usual smaller pads, longer suspensions, higher fines and remove the instigator rule.

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04-06-2012, 02:49 PM
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Need IIHF rule.

But also, the culture needs to change. I think it was a landslide number of north americans suspended this season and few Euros.

We have the old boys in charge though, so change will be glacial.

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04-06-2012, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocoa Crisp View Post
Smaller and softer. There's no reason shoulder pads and elbow pads have to have hard exterior. As softer exterior would provide just as much protection to the wearer.
smaller is a good direction, but afaik all modern shoulder pads worn by nhlers have a layer of foam on the outside of the pads already.

i have to think there is something else going on as well though. like some supplements that players routinely take has an effect on this or some side effect of current training and fitness regimes make concussions more likely or more impactful. guys in the past used to get lit up just as bad and weren't out for a season at a time recovering.

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04-06-2012, 05:42 PM
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Regarding the potential insurance policy change: I think that this would affect the players more than it would the owners because you'd have to think that GM's (especially of teams with low budgets) would be hesitant to sign players with concussion history knowing that if they are sidelined, the team is on the hook for the salary. This could drive down the future salaries of those with concussion histories.

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04-06-2012, 05:51 PM
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concussions will always be present but we can decrease the number of them

basically start giving 10+ game suspensions for deliberate head shots and they'll decrease. nobody wants to lose 12%+ of their paycheck for one hit. also another thing would be to make the team play 1 player short while they have a suspended player (eg can only dress 11 forwards instead of 12). this way there will be team pressure + self pressure to not make stupid plays.

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04-06-2012, 05:55 PM
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So I guess the NHL's decision of making the league clutch and grab again isn't working

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04-06-2012, 06:04 PM
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On the comments about mouth guards above: it's amazing how the science changes. I played rugby for team Canada juniors, BC and in uni around 2000-2003 and back then the emphasis was the mouth guard. We even had specialized ones which were supposed to be even better at concussion reduction (I've had a few). It's amazing how the theories on prevention and reduction have changed in 10 years.

As for the NHL, I agree with those saying a solution may be moving to non-plastic capped padding. Go back to the soft ones.

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04-06-2012, 06:13 PM
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I wonder how much of this is a "you get what you measure" phenomenon. Yes, there have been many man-games missed due to concussion. But I have to wonder how much of that is due to a) greater awareness of concussions that occur, b) increased rate of diagnosis of concussions, c) more caution exercised by teams and players in the face of concussions, and so forth.

Moreover, as concussions seem to have a high amount of variability, looking at man-games gives an incomplete picture. Have the number of individuals receiving concussions risen too? This article (http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=362741) notes a study in which it was discovered that there were 559 concussions in the 7 year period from 1997-2004. Do the math: that's 80 concussions per season, and note that the study only looks at concussions incurred in the regular season--some of the 90 from this year may be spillovers from last playoffs of the preseason. Are things really getting worse? 90 this season vs. an average of 80 doesn't seem to be all that excessive.

This article (http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=621826) notes that concussion rates are the same as last season, and while there was a "major" increase in the number of concussions from the 2009-10 season to the 2010-11 campaign, no indication is made as to what constitutes a major increase. Is the "major" increase going from the average of 80 in the late 90s and early 00's up to 90? Personally, I doubt that such a change would even be statistically significant, though I'm not going to dig through the medical journals to find standard deviations.

In short, to call this the "season of the concussion" is misleading. It's not that there are more concussions than before. It's that we are hearing about concussions more than before, and teams/players are more cautious about concussions than before.

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