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What should the NHL do about head shots in hockey?
Thu, March 10, 2011

The NHL is on the hot seat while trying to find a solution to cut down on the number of concussions and bring more respect to the game.

The latest incident, involving Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara taking out Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty into a padded arena stanchion, has players, fans and sponsors up in arms over the NHL's decision not to level a suspension and/or fine for the dangerous play.

Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, the NHL's poster boy, hasn't played in more than two months after suffering a concussion in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1.

What can the NHL do about preventing concussions in hockey? Is it up to the players to show more respect in the game? Have your say in our forum.

No suspension for Chara



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98 Comments

Bettman...just wow. There will never be change unless Bettman grabs a vowel.

I think there needs to be some thought about "intent" and "neglect". If I runover somebody (sober) in a sidewalk, I didn't intend to do it, but I'll be charged with a variety of things such as negligence causing bodiy harm,driving with undue care and attention etc. Hockey should be no different. The players have no respect for each other, Bettman cares about nobody but himself $ and where is the NHLPA??

There's already a gray area with fighting. And hey.. if you want to fight and you get hurt, well tough. But events like the Chara/Bertuzzi incident need to stop. If somebody ends up as a quad because of blatant neglect by the NHL (and Bettman), I hope they sue for billions of dollars and bankrupt the league.

As somebody who has a family member with a spinal cord injury suffered during a sporting activity, Bettman's response makes me sick! Spinal Cord injuries are for life. A high C injury will put you in diapers forever. You can't feed yourself, dress yourself, brush your teeth, wash your face. It's a devastating event not only in the person's life but their family and friends. You might get rich but you can't wipe your ass. Is it worth it?

Thanks to all the sponsors out there who took a stand.


Wilma, 2011-03-12 10:03:12

If they've extended Buttman, obviously not. Hockey is a game that somehow survives the absolute morons who run it.
Thomas LaBelle, 2011-03-12 09:47:42

idiot Bettman has to go, Leadership....what leadership!
Dan, 2011-03-12 09:32:29

The Instigator rule has to go! Before the instigator rule if you laid a dirty hit on a player the other teams fighter would kick your ass! Now there is no deterrent. Even a player making the league minimum laughs at a 3 game suspension and the loss of what $20,000. Thats chump change to these guys. Add on the joke of a one man diciplanarian doling out laughable punishments at his whim and its no wonder the players have a free for all. Drop the instigator rule. Increase team size by one player and create a Diciplanary panel made up of ex coaches and players.

I like Chara as a hockey player. He plays very tough but he knew he was at the bench and at an area that is not "the norm" for laying body checks. I'll never accept that he didn't know where he was at the time of the hit. I also believe this is an opportunity for the NHL, NHLPA and external companies to come up with alternative solutions to those stanchions. Maybe something along the lines of angling the glass to end 4 feet inside the players box so the Stanchion isn't in play. Just a few thoughts.
cappthook, 2011-03-12 08:27:26

I agree that the NHL has a problem with head shots. If you want to eliminate the headshots, then when a player is hit in the head and is unable to play then the player at fault is suspended until the injured player can return and for a repeat offender suspend his pay. If you go back to Bertuzzi

and Moore the victim is still out and the villian is still playing. When a player knows that he may not play again for his actions on the ice , then maybe they will use better judgement and not blame it on the heat of the moment.
Tim, 2011-03-11 21:54:51

Mitch...

You very well know that had it been a Kessel or Sedin laid out like that Air Canada would have said nothing. Once again, Air Canada's HQ is in Montreal and their chief critic is a Habs fan. 'Nuff said.
George, 2011-03-11 21:34:25

How is it that we accept that a player is responsible for knowing where his stick is at all times and if he accidentally high sticks someone its a penalty, yet in this case Chara isn't supposed to be responsible for where his hands are. The replay doesn't look too bad, but if you look at the still of the moment of impact, Chara's glove is ramming Pacioretty's head into the turnbuckle. This is 100% Chara's fault and I don't think he's good enough to time ramming the head into the turnbuckle that well. But he is responsible and the league absolutely blew it by not taking some token action to signify they are concerned and in charge of the situation. They have left themselves wide open for the criminal courts to fill the void left by their inaction.

Bettman blew this totally and hockey will pay the price. Those who feel that hitting is a natural part of hockey may soon have it legislated out of their game.
Rick W., 2011-03-11 20:56:27

how can people put the blame on the turnbuckle in this situation? it's the glasses fault? are you guys kidding me. may as well blame a high stick on the stick , or a puck in the face on the puck! what's wrong with these conservative ideas about hockey and how it is normal for players to break their necks every year? look,maybe the severity of the injury wasn't intensional but the act was still committed. what does intent have to do with it. this is not a simple collision here. chara new where the turnbuckle was and still finished his check. players need to be responsible for their contacts on the ice the same way they are responsible for their sticks. nevermind intent. and please dont give me the " you habs fans are just upset because it's one of yours this time". canadian media was all over the booth hit , the savard hit , the bergeron hit the crosby hit... come to think of it, at least up here we are willing to put jersey colors aside when it comes to dangerous hockey . we stand up for any player getting hurt on the ice. sure maybe this time we are louder than usual because it is one of ours but isn't that a little normal? besides , how loud did the bruins bark when their players got nailed? yah, they just ran to the end of their chains and choked.
dave, 2011-03-11 18:47:23

You'll never get rid of the headshots. The best you could do is discipline for the overt. It's a rough and tumble game. Injuries happen as in all sports> I have been hit in the face by a baseball and had to go to the hospitol. I have seen elbows inadvertantly thrown in a Soccer game. Look at football and rugby. The difference here is the speed and sometimes its is uncontrollable. Nobody wants anyone to get hurt but it will happen. It's the deliberate hits that the NHL needs to address. Chiara's incident to me was the location and that stanchtion obviously should have had more protection. This happened to my son on Saturday and it looked ugly but he got up and got back into the play. It will happen.
Dave Irving, 2011-03-11 16:14:28

The problem with the NHL is Bettman. I don't think he cares about hockey. Injuries are definately a problem, but its one problem from the many that the NHL is facing that Bettman refuses to deal with. What about the teams that are going under that he refuses to move to Canada? What about the Canadian sponsors that might back out because Bettman thinks he's a "man" by standing up to them? Fire Bettman and then solve these problems!!
Dan W, 2011-03-11 15:51:24

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