Ken Dryden via Grantland

Ken Dryden was an amazing goalie in the NHL, and has been around long enough to see the transformation of the sport.  Hockey is a very exciting game to watch and really many are missing out on its action.  I continue to tell everyone that there is nothing like a NHL game in the stands, probably the best event one can go to (unless you score a Game 7 ticket in the playoffs).  The issue that Dryden is taking on is one that I have been clamoring for – for a long time – remove shots to the head.  Dryden wrote his article for Grantland and is calling on the NHL and NFL to start playing “head smart”;

This is a difficult time for the NHL, for its commissioner, Gary Bettman, and for hockey. It’s no less difficult for the NFL, for its commissioner, Roger Goodell, for the NCAA, and for football. Head injuries have become an overwhelming fact of life in sports. The immensity of the number, the prominence of the names, the life-altering impact on their lives, and, more disturbing, if that’s possible, the now sheer routineness of their occurrence. The Crosby hit didn’t seem like much. If it hadn’t been Crosby, the clip of the incident would never have made the highlight reel. And if so much can happen out of so little, where is all this going? Who else? How many more? How bad might this get? Careers and lives of players, we know now, have been shortened, diminished, snuffed out by head injuries. What once had seemed debatable, deniable, spin-able, now is not. What once had been ignored now is obvious. Not just contact or collision sports, hockey and football are dangerous sports.

Dryden does not suggest to Bettman, rather implores him to make necessary changes; Continue reading

NHL Clarifies Rule 48

The NHL today sent out a note that they have cleaned up the wording on Rule No. 48, the rule put in place at the Winter GM Meetings that “kind of” started the penalization of head hits in professional hockey.  The statement reads (from NHL.com);

Rule 48 previously provided the on-ice officials with the ability to call a major penalty for any targeted head hit from the lateral or blind side, but the re-written rule no longer includes the words lateral or blind side, and the major penalty provision has been replaced by the minor penalty provision.

“Now, the confusion some of the players have expressed in the past as to what direction they’re approaching a player, what direction a player is facing, east, west, north, south, that has all been taken out,” said Brendan Shanahan, NHL Senior V.P. of Player Safety and Hockey Operations. “Anywhere on the ice, coming from any direction, you target the head and make it a principle point of contact, you’ll be subject to a two-minute penalty on the ice for Rule 48. You’ll also be — as with all two-minute penalties or non-calls — subject to supplementary discipline.”

This should, stress on the word “should”, eliminate any hits being made to the head with anything other than a high stick or puck Continue reading

Horton Aftermath

If anyone has seen highlights of the Stanley Cup Finals or were watching last night you surely know about the incident on the ice involving Nathan Horton.  You can see the video at Deadspin.com until it is taken down by the powers that be.

As I said on twitter last night the hit was a vicious hit that seemed to me be unwarranted.  Also in breaking down the replays; Aaron Rome left the ice, targeted the head and made contact to the blind side of Horton.  Not only was this a violation of Rule 48, but it is blatant disrespect for another player.

Later in the game it was reported that Horton had movement in all extremities, which is a good sign, but Continue reading