Concussion Lawsuit Hits NHL

I'm starting to get uneasy about these lawsuits.

I wonder how many of those players would come off the ice willingly if injured.

Not many - if any.

Forgive me, but they - we who play sports - knew what they were signing up for.

It's a little like the smoker going after the tobacco company. In there somewhere there's personal responsibility. No one put a gun to their heads.

"...It argues that the league continues to contribute to injuries today, by refusing to ban fighting and body-checking, and by employing "enforcers" whose main job is to fight or violently body-check opponents. And the lawsuit accuses the league of promoting a "culture of violence," in which players are praised for their fighting and "head-hunting" skills."

Man, oh, man there's some dizzying - excuse the pun - assertions here.

Ban body-checking? Body-checking! There's nothing wrong with  good clean hit. I know much is made of Olympic hockey where skill prevails over brawn but that's an anomaly. You have the very best packed into those rosters. Naturally, the skill level will be phenomenal. But watch hockey where the rosters are less stacked and see how the product looks. I'm not that into European style hockey where there's a lot of dispy-doodling and very little bodes being banged around. Hey, different strokes for different folks, Willis.

Ban fighting? Survey the players. A majority of them will say fighting is a way for players to police themselves.  It's not the league that employs "enforcers." Teams do. Always have. Always will.  Which begs the question - Isn't this what fans demand?

I know many people are turned off by fighting in hockey (and at one point it had become a side-show in the 1990s when goons were announcing who they were going to fight prior to games reminiscent of WWE. It was more Slap Shot than hockey) but that's calmed down significantly in regular season play and you hardly see any fighting or brawls in the playoffs like we used to see in the 1970s, 1980s  and parts of the 1990s- which were awesome by the way.

Where I do agree is with the NHL's horrible job of handling hits to the head. They need to stop the JFK-esque explanations and just ban a player that concusses someone. Not for three games but 30.

It'll eventually sink in. Some of those hits are plain dirty and I don't generally sympathize with the "I was doing my job" or "I didn't mean to hurt" line.

A lot of hits are not necessary and the NHL has been terrible at sending a strong message through its incoherent suspension policies.

As to assigning blame or finding a scapegoat. Good luck with that. This stuff doesn't begin and end with professional hockey. It begins waaayyyy before that. In effect, on trial here is the game of hockey.

Like football is on trial in the NFL.

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