Friday, December 30, 2011

Can the NHL stop dangerous hits?

Who doesn’t want their favourite hockey team to get a bit physical when it seems like they are on the ropes?

However, one other question that deserves to be asked is: who wants to see their team knock opposition players out of games, or worse still, see that exact same thing happening to their own players? Sure, hits can be great fun (and rather terrifying when you are sitting right behind the glass!) but they are certainly not the be all and end all of hockey.

With Deryk Engelland the latest player to fall foul of the NHL rules on hits, surely the time has come to start clamping down on players who are going in to hurt their opponents, rather than just trying to stop their progress. Although traditionalists and those who bet on hockey will argue that those running the sport are just trying to turn it into a limited contact sport, the truth of the matter remains that there are just too many players getting hurt for the league to continue to ignore the problem of long term health consequences.

Should the likes of Sidney Crosby or other skill players be reduced to having to miss the majority of games because they enjoy a bit of fun with the puck, only to find themselves crushed up against the wall by a hit designed to tell them that they are going to be roughed up, then what is the point of watching live hockey online? Surely if you want to watch a fight you can watch boxing or UFC?

Whatever the decisions made by the heads of the NHL, hockey will surely have to change sooner rather than later or else risk becoming obsolete.

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