Melnyk: Ban headhunters for life

Melnyk said on The Fan 590 he has been beating this drum and it’s about time people started...

Melnyk said on The Fan 590 he has been beating this drum and it’s about time people started listening because the league can’t afford to lose star players like Sidney Crosby and Jason Spezza. (Errol McGihon/QMI AGENCY)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:34 PM ET

Eugene Melnyk is calling for the NHL to take radical action on deliberate headshots. Radical action as in lifetime bans.

The Senators owner told Sportsnet Radio in Toronto Tuesday the league needs to get tougher on players who headhunt by banning those found guilty of the infraction from the NHL for life.

Melnyk said on The Fan 590 he has been beating this drum and it’s about time people started listening because the league can’t afford to lose star players like Sidney Crosby and Jason Spezza.

Melnyk said he had discussions with the league after Spezza was hit by Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang earlier this year and suffered a shoulder injury. There was no suspension and Spezza missed 15 games.

“It happened to Jason Spezza. I complained about that and it didn’t get anywhere. It’s now happened to the elite player in the league Sidney Crosby,” said Melnyk.

“It’s going to continue to happen unless there’s some radical stuff goes on. I’m talking about -- and I’m as far to the right wing on this issue as you can ever get -- you hit a guy in the head you’re gone and I mean gone.

"A deliberate, you don’t play hockey anymore. That’s the way you’re going to do it. You’re gone.”

Melnyk even believes there has to be action on accidental hits to the head if they could have been avoided by the perpetrator.

“If it’s a accidental hit, that could be have been avoided, just because you’re stupid and you just skated the wrong way, but you hit the guy, fine, 20-game suspension,” said Melynk.

“If it’s truly accidental and the guy just ran into you, you know what, give the guy a break. But, if it’s a deliberate hit you should not be in any game of hockey. I don’t care what anybody says, ‘We need some violence, we need this.’ Go to wrestling. Go to cage fighting. Don’t do it in the hockey game with elite players.

"There’s no excuse. Zero tolerance. You’re gone. Period. Stop.”

Bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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