So last night Shea Webber bounced Henrick Zetterberg’s head off the glass twice, the intent was obvious; Weber intended to repudiate the questionable check with some “on ice justice” with a hit to the head (you can see a .gif here). With head contact such a high priority of the NHL and its Player Safety department, headed by Brendan Shanahan, many thought there would be penalties coming down for Weber.
Well, Weber was seemingly given a “slap on the wrist” – a maximum fine of $2500 – for his actions. Although many of you die hard puck-heads will be screaming at me; this was NOT ENOUGH and sends a message that the “wild west” attitude is acceptable in the playoffs.
“This was a reckless and reactionary play on which Weber threw a glancing punch and then shoved Zetterberg’s head into the glass,” Shanahan said in a statement. “As is customary whenever supplemental discipline is being considered, we contacted Detroit following the game and were informed that Zetterberg did not suffer an apparent injury and should be in the lineup for Game 2.
“This play and the fine that addressed it will be significant factors in assessing any incidents involving Shea Weber throughout the remainder of the playoffs.”
It seems to me that Shanahan took the VERY easy way out and did not suspend Weber, which is contrary to the last video on the Player Safety Video page of NHL where Nate Prosser of the Minnesota Wild was suspended one game for a head-butt in a scuffle after a play. The last time I understood the rules it was an infraction to BOARD someones head, intentionally.
So what gives? Is the head an issue or is it not? So far Shanahan has whiffed on this apparently easy one-timer.
The NHL is ten to fifteen years behind the NFL. Ironically, most of the concussion advisors to the NHL are or were advisors to the NFL (Kutcher [NCAA too], Echymendia, team UPMC etc). I guess a gaggle of retired broken and demented hockey players will need to sue the NHL in order for it to take its problem seriously. The so-called experts will say anything as long as the checks can be cashed and a hold-hramless clause is in the contract.
The NHL should follow the NFL. The NFL is great at pushing liability elsewhere. Its the greedy whiny drug addicted players, its the union led by a morons, its the blood thirsty coaches just not the league. It does not stop there, the NFL has excelled at pushing its liability down to Pop Warner, high schools, colleges through the Lystedt laws (The league is socially responsible by covering its ass). Big Tobacco must be ramming its head into a wall since it could have laid off its liability to the corner store while the pusher gets off scot-free and keeps the cash.
Perhaps Ben Belson of the New York Times was more on target than he realized when he suggested the NFL would bring up a damaged goods argument. Now, it’s more likely that any concussions sustained in youth football will be well documented. It won’t be the NFL’s fault, it will be youth football and genetic predisposition – I thought most of Kutcher’s youtube presentation was good, but did kind of catch on to the reference about 1,000’s don’t have problems. Perhaps the feeder systems and NCAA study will be used to help identify and weed out those predisposed to problems (although, in truth I would think too many concussive/sub-concussive blows aren’t good for anyone).
“Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said the team’s scouting report on prospects include how many concussions the player sustained in college.”
You better believe the concussions I evaluate are well-documented. Most injuries I deal with are, but the concussion evaluations have a separate file altogether… I plan to keep them much longer than the rest of the files that are required to be kept..
I’m glad Torres got a 25 game suspension. It should have been more. At least it sets an example that this type of dirty play doesn’t belong in professional sports.