|Posted by Sonya Ewaniuk on April 1, 2011 at 5:20 PM|
I am of the mind that fighting is, always was, and always will be a part of professional hockey. If someone doesn't want to fight, they just don't have to take the bait, am I right? It's a choice made by the instigator and defender whether or not a fight will progress. Therefore, if a fight results in a concussion, well bummer, but it's a chance you take.
A couple weeks ago (old news, I know...), the results of a two-year statistical study of NHL concussions were released by the NHL. According to the study, 44 percent of the concussions this season have resulted from legal hits, 26 percent from accidental hits, 17 percent from illegal hits and 8 percent from fighting. The cause of 5 percent couldn't be determined. This study should help silence the opponents of fighting in hockey who claim that eliminating hockey fights would cure the concussion problem.
"There's no one single thing causing concussions. The statistics I've given you are really to tell you there is no magic bullet in dealing with this," Bettman said. "I know it is an emotional, intense subject -- especially for our fans. We understand it, we get it; but dealing with this issue is not something you can just do whimsically or emotionally. You really have to understand what is going on."
In my opinion, stiffer supplementary discipline for offending players should be implemented where illegal hits occur, especially with repeat offenders like Matt Cooke. It would be nice to see some consistency with the handing out of discipline, too, providing a true deterrent to players. Thing is, it is sometimes difficult to determine whether a hit is illegal/intentional or not (like Chara's check on Pacioretty), but we can only hope that reviews of such incidents will be fair and just going into the future.
Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty is back on the ice, only three weeks after suffering a severe concussion and a broken vertebra in his neck when he was checked into a stanchion at the Bell Centre on March 8. Hopefully his team will make the playoffs, giving Pacioretty another chance to shine. Pacioretty was on pace to double his previous year's points, with six points in his last 10 games before his injury.
Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green skated with teammates for the first time in more than a month today, and told reporters afterward he was no longer experiencing concussion-like symptoms.
The playoffs to come will be fast-paced, exciting, and chock full of action and a strong desire to win. Inevitably this will bring a few injuries. Hopefully concussions will not be among these, but most importantly, I hope players will show the integrity and professionalism that the fans of this great game have a right to expect. Hockey is a physical game, but it should be played fair.