Monday, December 19, 2011

Rock Em Sock Em Hockey Conundrum

Bobby Clarke, one of my all time favorite hockey players, a Stanley cup winner and member of the famous Philadelphia Flyers,also known at that time in history as the Broad street bullies...

The hits come fast and furious, don`t turn your back, beware of going in the corners for a loose puck, the name Dave Schultz comes to mind, the game of hockey, Canada`s game has always been about intimidation and fear, Wayne Gretzky had Dave Semenko to lay down the law and take care of business, he allowed the great one to be just that, Great....

Rob Ray...A bruising Boston Bruin player.

Tie Domi..Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bob Probert..Detroit Red Wings.

Chris Simon..New York Islanders.

Marty McSorely..Edmonton Oilers.

Tiger Williams... Curt Fraser..Harold Snepsts....And many other Canucks, including a couple on the current Vancouver Canucks roster.

And even if we travel into the way way back time machine intimidation, fighting and violence has always been there..

 Red Horner..Toronto Maple Leafs ..1928-1940.

Eddie Shore..Boston Bruins...1926-1940.

Contact sports, Rugby, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, broomball, you can name any contact sport and intimidation, fear, power combined with skill has almost always decided the eventual winner...

Let me be perfectly clear, I am not endorsing fighting, hitting or violence in any form, however, hockey without fear and intimidation will never happen, the hitting, the bump and grind of game will always be there.

Most of the players mentioned above would have never skated on an NHL rink without the raw essence of violence...

I do believe that acts of criminality such as stick swinging should not be tolerated.

There have always been unsanctioned traditions in hockey for eternity, such as when in playoffs when the game is out of reach a near game-end brawl is required to send a message for the next game and of course the unwritten rule of "taking a player`s jersey number"  for the next frozen ice meeting...

The concussion syndrome has reared its ugly head as of late and that truly is sad, and preventable, but hockey is not alone, many boxers if not most suffered from brain injuries, some acute but most suffer from the accumulated affect over time.

From the day parents and mothers enroll their little darlings into pee-wee hockey defending your turf and taking other`s ice away is instilled into the mind by hockey savvy parents and as children age and advance the pressure builds and builds, team scouts and agents are routinely watching the junior teams play and again parents players and coaches are advising their stars to shine, be noticed and to be noticed you must stand out in a crowd,,,

Today`s hockey gear is advanced, ultra light pads, CSA approved helmets, face shields and the like....

Maybe all padding and safety gear should be removed, take that cushion away and perhaps the brutal hits will stop but doubtful, human emotion and adrenaline trump all, the will to win and coaches pep talks will prevail....

There are doctors calling for the elimination of all hitting and fighting, the vast majority of concussions are from HITS, flying elbows to the head,  scrums in the corners, again I repeat almost all head injuries and concussions in hockey are caused by flying elbows and slamming hits in the boards,...I don`t know how the game can be played with players fighting to stay in the league, battling for contracts, the game, take the puck away from your opponent and score a goal, how can you clear screening traffic from the front of the net without contact, players slide in front of 100 MPH slap-shots to defend their net.....How can you take that contact out of the game, how do you decide what contact is acceptable, even in football, tackling players try to hurt quarterbacks, players pile on,....

I have played hockey(on levels no where near NHL caliber) and regardless of what level, there has been an element of physical contact, the bigger, the stronger the player the more contact is required to take the puck away, hockey is the fastest game in the world, there are times, I have personally seen it where...

Where a player heading into the corner or boards to lay some lumber and the puck-holder turns his back to you, that player is now at risk of being hit from behind, I just don`t know how the game of hockey can be played at that level by men worried about money and contracts by taking out all hitting from the game, I can recall back to the 2010 games in Vancouver where the crowd roared and went wild as team Canada ran man after man into the boards, open ice hits, crunching ball-busting hits.

Maybe I`m old school, maybe I`m wrong, maybe hockey should just be a straight shoot-out, that`s why the title included the word "Conundrum"

I feel very bad for the players and families of those who suffered and even died from head injuries but Canada`s game of hockey has and always will be  about goals, speed and skills entwined with hits, intimidation and enforcement...

And I wouldn`t want it any other way!

The Straight Goods

Cheers Eyes Wide Open


BC Mary said...

I don't know much about hockey, but I understand that the women are playing a fast, clean, watchable game without having to resort to violence.

So it's possible, right?

Hockey isn't so much a game, as it's a money-making business enterprise.

It's sickening that a beautiful kid like Sidney Crosby gets poked, prodded, tested with a view to pushing him as far as possible before actually destroying his brain. Destroying his future, his life.


Grant G said...

Mary...Team Canada, and team USA female hockey teams trounce the world in hockey, they win by scores like 20 to 0 against most world female teams.

Having watched 1000`s of hockey games(NHL)...And dozens of female hockey team games....

Don`t take this the wrong way..

Watching female hockey teams, to me, it`s almost agonizingly slow motion..

The speed of female game can`t compare to the speed of the pro NHL game isn`t.

And I suspect if the world`s female hockey teams played as good as the Canadian female hockey teams there indeed would be concussions..

Team Canada female hockey team playing anyone but the American female hockey team is like watching .....

Men playing boys.

When the score is almost always double digit blowouts I lose interest..

Similar to car racing...

Nobody would watch the Indy 500 if the maximum speed was 100 MPH...

You did notice the title of this post?

The last word..



Grant G said...

Mary....Further to my last comment..

There really isn`t a PRO female hockey league, in other words MOST female hockey players don`t play for long.

There is nothing to compare to.

But I suspect that IF there was a big-time pro female hockey league with 1000`s of junior teams, scouts and big bucks along with 82 game schedules there would be concussions too.

Grant G said...

I see the sewerman`s jealousy streak is showing again.


Anonymous said...

Well when you think you are #1 read blog in the west but yet are only #6th or #7th and you are the only reader and commenter, those appies and malts at the Vancouver Hotel or Hy's can cause a somewhat putrid vile gas when applied to pen and paper.

Anonymous said...

To all the people who want violence in hockey, why don't you put on some boxing gloves yourself and have at it.

Grant G said...

Thanks 7:09am.

The land of sizzle, yet you`ll die of starvation waiting for a steak.

Bring it on Sewermouse!

BC Mary said...


This helps to express my point of view ... on hockey's intentional head trauma:

'Stop the violence and play hockey': Canadian Medical Association Journal

By Crawford Kilian
December 19, 2011 -- The Hook (Tyee)

In an editorial published today, the interim editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal called on "all doctors to support a ban on all forms of intentional head trauma and endorse deterrent penalties in hockey."

Dr. Rajendra Kale, a neurologist, cited studies on the brains of athletes in hockey and other professional sports:

What researchers from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, Boston University of Medicine have found in the brains of three prominent hockey players -- Rich Martin, Reggie Fleming, and Bob Probert -- should be enough to sway minds to impose a ban on all forms of intentional head trauma, including fighting, with severe deterrent penalties such as lengthy suspensions for breaches.

In 2009, McKee and colleagues reviewed 48 cases of neuropathological verified chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and documented the findings of CTE in one football player and two boxers. To date, they have analyzed the brains of 70 athletes, and over 50 have had pathological evidence of CTE. ... The simple message done by the work of McKee and colleague is that the brain does not tolerate repeated hits.

... CTE is associated with memory disturbances, behavioural and personality changes, Parkinsonism, and speech and gait abnormalities. Hockey has now been unceremoniously added to the list of sporting activities that result in CTE.

... Scientists might argue that three sliced up brains is not enough evidence and that long-term cohort studies are needed to prove beyond doubt that hockey players are at risk of CTE. Evidence from boxing injuries collected over decades shows that repeated head trauma can cause brain damage. This evidence can be extrapolated to hockey.

Vested interested will no doubt lobby to prevent a ban on fighting, but I call on all doctors to support a ban on all forms of intentional head trauma and endorse deterrent penalties in hockey.

quoted from:
the Hook (Tyee)

Grant G said...

Mary, we`ll have to agree to disagree, there are 2 issues at play, fighting and hits...

You can ban fighting but the vast vast majority of head injuries are caused by hits, elbows and crunches in the boards...

How do you eliminate that?

If that part of the game is removed the game itself would be fundamentally changed....

Remove all pads, helmets, face guards and then players will stop hitting...

Only then players will be hurt by the puck itself, look at Bobby Clarke`s picture, those missing teeth are not from fighting but from getting hit in the head with the puck.

Every NHL player knows the risk...Skiers get hurt all the time too...

They run into trees, should we remove all trees on ski slopes?

Lower speed limits on our roads,on all roads to 30 MPH and we could save thousands of lives, statistics bear that out.

Here`s a novel idea, make face shields mandatory in hockey(Like Helmets) and make a rule that players fighting can`t remove their helmets or face shields during fights..

Problem solved.