As the weather warms that means the General Managers of the NHL go south to Florida for the meeting of the minds. Last year the Commissioner laid out a plan to help curb the concussion issue in the NHL with ideas that included: the quiet room, expansion of Rule 48 and increased penalties from Shanahan.
Where has that gotten the sport in relation to concussions; if you look by pure number it would be an actual increase, however I do believe those measures have indeed helped. But there is more they (GM’s) and league can do, if they want to. Part of fostering a game/sport is to realize that there needs to be changes, often ones that go against tradition and the good ol’ days. People, including those that run hockey seem to forget that this game was not invented with today’s player in mind, the speed and skill has far outgrown this pastime, change is inevitable.
What can the NHL do to make the concussion issue better – don’t ask the Deputy Commissioner;
“There’s nothing we can do that doesn’t change the game fundamentally that’s going to eliminate concussions in our game,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Canadian Press earlier this season. “Bottom line is they’re a fact of life in a contact sport — not just ours — and they continue to be a fact of life.
“As long as we understand the nature of these injuries and we’re approaching it responsibly, which I would suggest we are, there’s not a whole lot more we can do about it.”
Daly is just keeping the good ol’ boys happy by saying that, the truth of the matter there are changes that can be made that don’t affect game play ONE BIT;
- Remove all head contact, accidental or intentional, make it a minor at the least
- If you can’t ban fighting, limit the number of fights a person/team can have a season – at the same time protect those players that make a living throwing their head in front of fists
- Expand the playing surface
You see there are changes that can be made, the problem is that it takes effort and money and the above changes impact the game far less than the re-introduction of the redline. The league and the commissioner need to grow a set and stand up the to the old guard and understand that for the game to survive changes will have to be made.