I have been watching hockey since I was a kid. If you don't know me, that was a very long time ago. I grew up on it. I played it, in fact,...wanted to play pro. But it was not to be. So needless to say, I know the NHL and pro hockey.
When I used to watch the Saturday night games in the '70's, the hair was long and flowing with no helmets to stop it, crude equipment by todays standard, and less than perfect 'athletes'. I remember hearing stories about Guy LaFleur smoking in between periods, but never had that story substantiated. It was more like the movie 'Slap Shot' than not.
In those days, you crossed the center ice with your head down, or you looked the other way, you were flattened. Plain and simple. No penalty, no further review with possible suspension. The crowd lept to their feet as fast as if it was a game winning goal. The 'receiving' player, some times came up bloody, some times crossed eyed, some times couldn't get to his feet, but it was part of the game. And you never picked up a newspaper the next day and read about concussions, and a player being medically held back because he got his bell rung. You weren't tough enough for the big game if you couldn't take it, there was always other players out there that could take your place. And I very much doubt that many of those hits were concussions, but I am sure there were a few.
Many out there are now saying I'm a dinosaur. Not growing with the game, or caring about the athletes. That can't be farther from the truth. My question is, how come all of a sudden, in the past 10 years we have become so anal about the seriousness of these hits? Concussions are serious stuff, affecting more than just your future hockey career, but your future life period.
I can tell you why, and I can't take credit for it. Donald S. Cherry has the right idea. These ridiculous shoulder and elbow pads are like hard plastic casings you find on power tools. You strap these on with the intention of keeping your body parts intact, you come across the ice and clock someone with an elbow, your going to scramble the guys brains.
I don't understand why the NHL and Brendan Shanahan don't see this? It i so obvious. In the old days, the pads I wore, and saw on the pro athletes of the day, were soft stuffed paddings designed to deflect the puck, or sticks from giving a deep bone bruise. And if a guy hit you, or vice versa, there was some give, and the head stayed intact, instead of running into a brick wall.
Wake up NHL, and get back to some retro hockey gear, that doesn't do any damage when guys make contact, instead of turning it into the ice capades.
NHL, concussions, and equipment
Posted on: October 22, 2011 9:28 pm