NHL misses head shot boat again

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:44 PM ET

Just when you want to credit the NHL powers that be, they go and shoot themselves in the foot.

Again.

Dead centre, right from the top, through the arch and into the floor.

Only a few days after coming out to say it will take more action against headshots and concussions, the league had an opportunity to follow through.

Instead, the NHL gave more of the same-old, same-old shrug of the shoulders.

Two games to San Joses Dany Heatley for a drive-by elbow on Steve Ott of the Dallas Stars. Two games to Bostons Brad Marchand for a elbow to the back of the head on Columbus Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger.

Thats it.

Ultimately, the punishment makes all the proclamation from the league during the GM meetings just a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing.

By no means do Heatley and Marchand deserve to be drawn and quartered for their actions, but both should have been banished for twice that time.

In light of the fact the NHL had just made a big deal about its need to cut such actions out of the game, its almost like those players were thumbing their nose at the idea.

Douglas Murray of the San Jose Sharks and Sean Avery of the New York Rangers werent much better, if at all, with their antics that same night.

As the regular season winds down, this would have been the perfect time to celebrate close playoff races, incredible turnarounds such as in New Jersey, Buffalo, Toronto and even Calgary although thats sputtered of late and what the Sedin twins are doing to the scoring race.

Instead, the players provided more ammunition to criticize the NHL, and the league did the same.

Injuries happen because of accidents and tough, honest hockey, and fans can accept it.

Cheapshots must become unacceptable, and the NHL didnt emphasize the point.

Flaming C-notes

As somebody who figured the neck injury suffered a year ago would spell the end of Daymond Langkows career, Ill happily be wrong whether he comes back this season or next. All that time away will mean a whack of rust, but the determination involved in returning from such a horrific injury may be enough for Langkow to be a big factor again ... By the way, Langkows return in the regular season would mean some salary cap juggling for the Flames to fit his US$4.5 million salary into the equation ... A knock on Jay Bouwmeester is his play in big games. The Flames blueliner didnt help his case with a disappointing, and at times unlucky, performance the night he became the NHLs record holder for consecutive games by a defenceman ... Its rather telling of the state of the clubs prospect pool Ales Kotalik was the only solution for a call-up. The Flames could have summoned a forward on an emergency basis in time for the Phoenix game this week and not have it count against the four post-trade deadline limit, but they opted to dress seven defencemen instead. A wave of injuries through the minor-league team didnt help the cause.

Hockey talky

Demanding a doctor see any player who suffers what could be a concussion before hed be allowed to return opens another can of worms for the NHL. Very few teams travel with their own doctors during the regular season, so that means home-team physicians will be monitoring visiting players. If its a toss up to them whether a player has a concussion, they will likely error on the side of caution. After all, a misdiagnosis could have disastrous results ... Too little attention around the league is being given to the battle Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller is having. The belief now is a case of vertigo. Losing him since the all-star break has surely cost the Ducks, who are staying in the hunt.


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