If various NHLers want to know where the fault lies for the rash of headshots going on throughout the league, Niklas Hagman has a message.
Look in the mirror.
“It’s the players fault,” the Maple Leafs forward candidly said this morning. “We’re on the ice.
“Head shots are kind of easier (to identify). The players put their elbow there or they (don’t).”
Hagman knows all about the impact of headshots. He has been out of the lineup with concussion-like symptoms since taking an elbow in the face from the New York Islanders’ Brendan Witt on Feb. 26, a cheap shot that earned Witt a five-game suspension.
After receiving medical clearance yesterday, Hagman skated with his teammates for the second time this morning. He hopes to return to the lineup this weekend, either Friday in Buffalo against the Sabres or Saturday at the Air Canada Centre when the Boston Bruins provide the opposition.
“I felt good the whole time,” Hagman said of his rehab. “The week after the hit I rode the bike and got a bit of a headache. That’s the only symptom I got.”
Witt never did reach Hagman to apologize, so he sent the message to Jason Blake to pass on.
“(Blake) told me (Witt) was sorry,” Hagman said. “Obviously it’s nice he said that.
“(But) actions probably talk louder than words. It’s easy to say sorry afterwards.”
After suffering two concussions this season, why did Hagman not just close himself down for the season?
“You can’t play scared,” he said. “I want to play.”