Competition Committee has a say on head shots

Some actual, real news that is semi-Mathieu related. He's still on the NHLPA's "competition committee" and they met this past weekend to work on some rule stuff. One of the key areas was the "hits to the head" issue.

The Slapshot blog over at the New York Times redeemed itself from the numerous times of confusing Mike Richards and Brad Richards, and had some video of Mathieu's post meeting comments. Check them out.  (Most amazing part of the video? There are pay phones behind him. They still exist!)

Some key quotes from Mathieu on the issue:
  • “Gratuitous headshots are going to be eliminated." (via Elliotte Friedman's Twitter) from the game.
  • "We don't want to take the physical play out of the game but we want to keep the players safe. That's the main goal and what our main message has been all along." (from Winnipeg Free Press)

The following, snagged from the Toronto Sun report, is really what it is all about. (At least, in my opinion. And apparently the NHLPA Competition Committee's opinion):
"After watching hundreds of hits, there still has to be a certain amount of onus on the player that he has a responsibility to keep his head up, to know where he is on the ice. You don’t want to take that part out of the game.  Certain hits that we watched, players were, for lack of a better term, stupid. They put themselves in a vulnerable position. We want to keep that physical play in there. You have to be aware when you’re coming through centre ice, you’re not looking back for a pass, the old sucker pass, and coming down on Chris Pronger. You have to be aware out there, that’s part of the game.”  (Toronto Star)
Amen brother! Amen! Black and white doesn't work. The world is gray. This is not an easy thing to solve, but a good start in solving it is not being a) stupid, and b) mean.  Players need to keep their heads up, and they also need to let up on unsuspecting players. Have some basic respect for the fellow human you are playing a game with. (I talked more about it in a previous post; having experience with head injuries following my sister's accident, this is an issue very close to my heart)

Another quote I thought was key was answering to the old dinosaurs who say a rule will "change the game."
"I think things have happened since the lockout, since the rule changes, that were probably unforeseen. That has made it necessary to change certain rules. The game is much faster, the collisions are taking place at higher speeds." (from the Canadian Press, via CTV.ca)
The game has already been changed, and that has put players in a danger that didn't exist in the same way before.

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