NHL concussion numbers dip
Lance Hornby, QMI Agency
|Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby speaks during a news conference at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in September on his recovery from a concussion. (REUTERS)
Concussions remain the hottest topic, but the league was cautiously optimistic as it reported they are actually down so far this season.
With almost 250 games in the books, NHL vice-presidents Colin Campbell and Brendan Shanahan said 55% to 60% fewer concussions have been diagnosed, though they didn’t get into details,
“It’s the early stages of the season,” Shanahan agreed at the end of Tuesday’s general managers’ meetings. “But it’s significant improvement and that credit should certainly go to the players. We know we can’t get rid of them all, but the strides the players have made are certainly commendable.”
Campbell said Shanahan’s hard line on head shots in the pre-season was the catalyst.
During the meetings, Kris King of hockey operations showed the GMs a prototype of a shoulder pad with rubber-like padding that could cut down injuries even further. A small group of players are testing the equipment now.
NHL general managers found themselves in a Catch-22 with the 1-3-1 on Tuesday.
They all seemed to think the Flyers and Lightning handled it wrong in a recent game when Philadelphia players refused to move the puck in protest of Tampa Bay’s zone defence, creating a complete stalemate.
But they also thought it a mistake to dictate how a team should play. The rival general managers Paul Holmgren and Steve Yzerman had their say, as did all others along with executive vice-president Colin Campbell.
“We’ve played more than 8,000 games with the red line out and this is the first time we’ve had an incident such as this,” Campbell said. “It’s something we have to talk about in March (when new rules are usually discussed by GMs), but it’s not the kind of hockey you want to throw at your fans.
“There were questions that it might happen again and would you let that happen at home in front of your own fans? Or is it successful and will it win games?”
Many wonder if simply blowing the play dead with a faceoff in the zone defence team’s end with no line changes would quickly rectify the situation.