Clean up the game: Henderson

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:39 PM ET

Canadian hockey legend Paul Henderson is disgusted with the level of violence in the NHL this season.

In fact, he thinks it’s going to take a generation of change to take head shots, concussions and dangerous hits out of the game.

In Winnipeg on Sunday afternoon to greet fans as part of his cross-country Henderson Jersey Tour, the 68-year-old said Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara’s hit last week on Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty was another example of just how terrible it has become.

“It’s sickening,” Henderson said. “You don’t know whether it’s premeditated or not, but they gotta do something. Everybody’s getting sick and tired of the terrible injuries, like the one to (Sidney) Crosby and all that kind of stuff.

“We’re going to have to go right back to minor league hockey and change the mentality of the game.”

Crosby, who in last year’s Winter Olympics scored arguably the most memorable goal since Henderson’s, has been out since early January with a concussion he received on a hit from David Steckel.

The Summit Series hero didn’t stop with philosophical change when it came to suggesting ways to make Canada’s game safer.

For starters, Henderson said the playing surface should be bigger considering the size of today’s players.

“Guys are so big and strong,” he said. “In my era they weren’t as big, they weren’t as strong, they weren’t as well-conditioned. So you had some time. The game wasn’t as fast.

“But now the game is so fast. I have 100 questions for every answer. That’s my problem.”

Henderson admitted the equipment of today is much more dangerous than it was when he played, but he believes the players need it.

“They’re blocking shots,” he said. “You gotta have a suit of armour, or you’d get killed out there with guys shooting the puck 100 miles an hour.”


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