Of all the perplexing elements that make up the world of hockey, nothing has been more confounding and frightening than the dramatic rise in concussions and head injuries.
One would think that the iron fist of Brendan Shanahan, dispensing suspensions for blows to the head on a regular basis, would result in a decrease of these injuries. But this has not happened.
It may be the case that the rules targeting head shots will resemble the rules against obstruction interference, in terms of players getting the message. In other words, the new regime could take years to seep into the game.
This is not good.
Just in the last week, Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Jeff Skinner, Joni Pitkanen, and Milan Michalek have been taken out of their respective line-ups due to concussions, or symptoms along those lines.
Have players simply gotten so strong and fast that their hits now have an impact that we have not previously seen? I doubt it.
It has been been mentioned that the NHL should consider adopting Olympic size ice in order to cut down on these potentially career ending injuries. This will not happen. The powers that be are not interested in losing seats.
It’s amazing to see the hits that do not result in concussions, especially when compared to the hits that do. The fact that each player who has been “Kronwalled” is playing concussion free is astonishing in itself.
The only solution I can think of, is for the engineers who design head gear to make some radical improvements.
The NHL, especially the players, must act quickly to curb this disturbing trend in ailments.