Not head shots of the cool kind, like this:
But head shots, as in players hitting other guys in the noggins, are a huge area of discussion. They've been bubbling up more and more over the last few years, and really seem to have come to a, um, head this year with some scary and severe injuries (and little in the way of punishment for the guys doing the hitting). The NHL GMs meet last week and offered a proposed rule that would officially make head shots illegal and punishable by penalties and supplementary discipline.
The new rule needs to be reviewed and accepted by the Competition Committee (see information from the Globe and Mail). Mathieu is among the 5 players on said committee.
Will be interesting to see what comes of this. Lots of debate and lots of emotion, all ways. Some sides say it is hockey, and hits like that are just part of the game. Others say there is no need for head shots. My thoughts? I'm more of the latter.
This is a hell of a hockey hit:
Even though that is my guy getting bowled over, it is a good, highlight reel hit. It isn't a blindside, Clutterbuck's hits arms (no elbow) to B-Rad's chest (no head). B-Rad isn't carried off on a stretcher. He gets up, gets his wind back, and then goes to discuss the penalties with the referee. THAT'S hockey.
Seeing the kid in the QMJHL convulsing on the ice... seeing David Booth and Marc Savard unconscious and carried away on a stretcher.... that's NOT hockey. It makes me sick to my stomach. And it doesn't have to be that way.
I'm not sure I'm convinced a rule will make it all better. I mean, you can't legislate basic respect and decency. Some of these guys are clearly lacking that. Part of me wants to make all players spend time in a neurological unit like I did for several months with my sister so they may better appreciate the horrors that brain injuries cause. And that's exactly what a concussion is: a traumatic brain injury. Sadly, I've witnessed it first hand for the last 7 years, and can say that brain injuries are one of the cruelest things in the world. It zaps a seemingly normal, healthy person of a normal, healthy life. Not something I'd wish on my worst enemy, and there are guys in the sport that subject their colleagues to it. For what? A highlight in the sports recap? Some cheers?
I just don't get it.