Re: NHL Competition Commitee Recommendations
posted at 6/5/2013 7:38 AM EDT
A lot of good points here, and the best answer considers all of them. Head injuries have certainly gone nuts since helmets became mandatory, however, we know absolutely, that back in the day, as long as you were "fairly" concious, you were expected to suck it up and continue. No exceptions. So, in actuality, there's little to compare. It seems illogical to me, that equipment kids have worn all their life, somehow becomes "cumbersome", when they get to the show. That story worked for a few years when guys were playing that didn't grow up wearing this stuff, but that was decades ago. Honestly, from what I see today, I can't believe that virtually all athletes from my generation, have suffered mutiple concussions.
The helmet debate ended 30 years ago, and I can't see much positive in bringing it back. It certainly won't be considered again at the NHL level. Any argument against visors is stupid from the PA. Again, anyone whose started their NHL career in the last several years, wore something like this there whole life. It makes no sense whatsoever.
I for one, am firmly onboard with most free choice arguments. I believe we have way too many rules, and way to few guiding principals. Dealing with sport though, is like dealing with horses. Rules are all you have. Subjectivity, rarely improves the product. If visors are an option...lets make elbow pads one too. The visor thing isn't about safety, it's merely vanity.
Someone mentioned auto racing. That's an industry that has gotten it's act together about safety. Unfortunately, like most other sports, it almost had to be crippled, before they got their head out of the sand, but instead of several fatalities per year, death in auto racing is now very rare. What I can find suggests it's been over 10 years since a death in Nascar. Death used to be a fact of life in that business.
Getting back to head injuries in hockey. Hockey helmets are pretty much the same as they were 30 years ago(sans the Gretzky model). I have a CCM that I just ditched circa early 80's, and my new Bauer is pretty much the same(don't wear a visor either). Helmet technology has advanced a ton in the last 15 years, yet in hockey....status quo. What's incredible, is that hockey gear in general, has advanced greatly.
I can understand a reluctance to tamper with the rules. There's always great resistance from those paying the freight. Many of the games greatest supporters believed the world was coming to an end with the elimination of the 2 line pass. It's just the way things go.
Safety though, is something else. There are many, many ways one can be critcally injured or killed playing NHL hockey. Several of those, are inherant dangers associated with playing the game. A puck, a skate, an awkward head first fall into the boards can be someones undoing. The league has a responsibility to limit the potential to things uncontrollable. Grievous injury sustained as a result of acceptable play is not an option. That needs to be dealt with. There are many, many ways to start the process. The problem seems to be buying in.