Hagman: Head shots fault of players

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

If NHL players want to know where the fault lies for the rash of head shots going on throughout the league, Niklas Hagman has a message.

Look in the mirror.

"It's the players' fault," the Maple Leafs forward said yesterday. "We're on the ice.

"Head shots are kind of easier (to identify). The players put their elbow there or they (don't)."

CHEAP SHOT

Hagman knows all about the impact of head shots. He has been out of the lineup because of 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 Monday, Hagman skated with his teammates for the second time at the morning skate. 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 a message through Jason Blake.

"(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."

MIKE.ZEISBERGER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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