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2011 In Hockey, The Year Of The Head

Friday, 12.30.2011 / 1:31 PM
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Razor With An Edge Blog
2011 In Hockey, The Year Of The Head

The year was permeated and punctuated with affairs of the head, from the face of the modern NHL, Sidney Crosby to the mental demons of a trio of tough guys, to intelligent changes in the name of player safety.

Examining the Brain

Families of deceased former NHLers Rick Martin, Bob Probert and Reggie Flemming donated their loved ones brains to BU Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Findings were somewhat troubling yet illuminating.

Shutting Down a Super Star

Crosby was first injured at the Winter Classic, then absorbed another hit a couple games later and was pulled from the Pens lineup for the remainder of last season and the first two months of this season. After briefly returning he is again out of their lineup with no return date in sight.

New Rinkside Protocol

Teams adopted a more refined post head trauma test. We heard the phrase 'quiet room' and watched as player after player - after player was diagnosed with 'concussion-like symptoms.

The Three Suicides That Stunned Hockey

In disturbing succession Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak all took their own lives. All three made a living in hockey with their fists more than their sticks and their deaths were immediately linked because of that - a premature conclusion most would state.

The Department of Player Safety

The league emerged from a sort of 'Dark Ages' in regards to player discipline especially when the subject of hitting was on the table and in particular hits to the head. Brendan Shanahan was put in charge and he has wielded a suspension hammer in tandem with the power of video. He's like a scar faced, no nonsense Carson Daley setting up video clips on NHL, not TRL.

Friendly Bumpers

Forced by a violent head-to-turnbuckle collision involving Max Pacioretty, the league altered the configuration of where glass ends to a curved, forgiving transition area. Smart, and overdue.

Broadcast Headed in Better Direction

The hiring of John Collins to head up the NHL's Broadcast Dept. was a fabulous one. He comes from the NFL where they seem to be doing ok. The massive NBC deal plus a gaggle of International rights contracts have come under his watch. Smart man. Full head of hair.

Concussions

It's not just hockey, pro sports like soccer and football have also seen a disturbing escalation in the number of players sidelined with what is essentially a bruised brain. But hockey seems to be magnified, probably because it's the only sport that allows fighting and it's the only one played in a confined area. How deep has this 'epidemic' become? Well at one point in late December the league's top point scorer, it's top goal scorer and it's best overall player were all out of their respective lineups due to concussions.

The Messier Project

Mark Messier has helped develop a helmet that claims to "displace energy within seconds". The problem at the NHL level seems to be that the helmet doesn't pass the "mirror test", as in, it doesn't look good on. Fashion 1, Intelligence and Safety no score.

With a half a season of hockey to be played and a new CBA to be hammered out by the Fall of 2012 I hope and trust we're headed in the right direction on all of this.

To all of you, I wish a happy and prosperous New Year...and a January 1 headache that is much more manageable than ones scores of NHLers had, have, or will have in the coming year due to their chosen vocation, and an errant elbow or two.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 62 40 18 4 192 153 84
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 63 30 25 8 175 181 68
11 COL 62 27 24 11 166 179 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 62 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 62 15 37 -3 52
E. Cole 57 18 15 4 33
T. Daley 59 16 16 -9 32
J. Klingberg 48 10 22 2 32
C. Eakin 59 14 14 -2 28
A. Hemsky 56 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 62 2 24 2 26
A. Roussel 60 12 11 -11 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 10 .905 2.97
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
 
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