January 9, 2011
Crosby wants change to headshot rules
By ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency
Sidney Crosby and his agent want to change the rules on headshots.
Following a blindside hit by Dave Steckel in the Winter Classic that clearly induced the concussion that has the game's best player sidelined, Crosby and Pat Brisson are diplomatically suggesting the intent of the hitter shouldn't matter.
"Was (the Steckel hit) on purpose? We'll never know that," said Brisson of a hit Steckel said he never saw coming as he was looking up ice.
"If I'm in control of a high stick that hits someone in the face I get a penalty. A hit to the head should be viewed in the same way. It shouldn't be up to the ref to decide if he meant it. At the end of the day it was a hit to the head. It shouldn't be up to (League disciplinarin) Colie (Campbell) to decide the intentions there - a hit to the head should be a suspension."
Brisson's vast client base also includes Red Wings defenceman Brad Stuart whose jaw was broken by Calgary forward Tom Kostopoulos in a shoulder-to-head hit in which intent could not be questioned. Nor can its severity, which is why Kostopoulos was handed a six-game suspension yesterday. Good on the NHL.
"I know it's going to open a measured debate going forward," said Brisson.
"What's $2,500 fine for these guys? That's not going to stop any guy from doing anything."
Hopefully six games will. But don't hold your breath.
Now time for more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world wondering if Leafs defenceman Brett Lebda set some sort of record when he went minus-3 in Toronto's 9-3 win in Atlanta.
Around the horn
To all those who've ever hit a moving vehicle or your friend's head with a snowball, you may have what it takes to be a world champion. Edmonton has landed the prestigious Canadian Snowball Championships in March and the winners get a shot at the 2012 Worlds in Japan. I couldn't make that up "¦ In light of the spotlight on Team Canada last week several junior hockey executives are now working hard at trying to remind people the players are just kids. "We're obviously thrilled with the amount of interest and exposure but we have to be sensitive to the age of the players," said Western Hockey League president Ron Robison. "It's important for people to keep in mind the fact we're dealing with young players - teenagers - and we have to put everything into perspective. They were devastated after the game. Let's not come down too hard on these guys." "¦ More than 186,000 people entered the priority draw for the remaining 17,000 ticket packages for next year's event in Edmonton/Calgary, putting it in line to smash the attendance record. The good news for Calgary hockey fans is that the Russians will play their round robin games in Calgary as will Group A nations Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia and Latvia. The bad news is the defending champs are expected to have just one returning player. The Canadians will play all their round-robin games in Edmonton alongside the U.S. before all playoff and relegation games are hosted at the Saddledome.
Good on Don Cherry for reminding people Darryl Sutter indeed turned the Flames franchise around. While Sutter's stumbles the last few years have been well documented in this space what Sutter did the first half of his eight-year tenure to make hockey matter again in Calgary should never be forgotten "¦ Been years since I cared about the game, but seeing Roberto Alomar talk about being inducted into the baseball hall of fame brought back such fond memories of a time when Canadians knew at all times how far ahead or behind the Jays were in the pennant race "¦ Just a reminder that the initial rumours linking Jarome Iginla to Los Angeles involved Kings prospect Brayden Schenn, who just tied the record for points in a World junior championship ... Oilers GM Steve Tambellini told the Sun he has no plans to trade goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, whose price tag is $3.75 million each of the next two years.
Eric Francis appears regularly as a panelist on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada