There’s been an unprecedented amount of chatter, much of it of the loud, profane and passionate variety surrounding the Chara/Pacioretty incident.
While the hit was a shock to everyone, it’s important to use this incident as a spearhead for league-wide change, and not just an opportunity for Habs fans to get “justice for their guy”. While some justice would have been nice (considering Campbell’s quote after suspending Ovechkin last season), that no supplemental discipline was given to Chara may be a blessing in disguise. If he had received a game or three, there would still be a large amount of fans dissatisfied with the decision. Upon serving the meagre suspension, the refrain would have reverted to “he served his suspension, move along”.
Instead, the league has flung the door wide open to criticism on their insane views of what is tolerated as “part of the game” and what isn’t.
I’ve been very, very vocal about the whole situation on twitter, and it’s led to many “accusations” that I’m only this upset because it’s happened to a Canadiens player. While my anger is certainly intensified this time around (and to be fair, a broken neck and severe concussion is as horrific an injury as we’ve seen in the NHL since the Bertuzzi/Moore incident of several years ago. Marc Savard’s accumulated head traumas are certainly the most profound for any player since Moore) there’s no doubt that I’ve made my stance and opinion on the state of the NHL very clear. I may not have listed every incident, but you’ll get the point.
Below is a compilation of blog posts that I’ve written over the past couple years that prove (I hope) just how disgusted I am with the league and their ineptitude to properly deal with headshots.
- (March 9, 2011) http://www.cowhideandrubber.com/pacioretty-slams-own-head-in-glass
- (February 25, 2011) http://www.cowhideandrubber.com/look-what-youve-done-gary
- (February 8, 2011) http://www.cowhideandrubber.com/as-the-hamster-wheel-turns
- (March 18, 2010) http://www.cowhideandrubber.com/day-zero-for-colin-campbell
- (March 14, 2010) http://www.cowhideandrubber.com/campbell-gets-another-chance
- (March 10, 2010) http://www.cowhideandrubber.com/nhl-general-managers-finally-act-on-headshots
- (January 18, 2010) http://www.cowhideandrubber.com/the-monthly-hockey-headshot-debate-heats-up-again
- (November 5, 2009) http://www.nhldigest.com/was-branch-too-harsh-on-liambis/
I’m not sure how I’d qualify it, but the oldest blog entry on this list most closely mirrors the way I feel today about Pacioretty. This tells me that despite the introduction of rule 48 to NHL play, that the sport of hockey is still nowhere near getting to the root of this frightening problem.
As Canadiens fans prepare to protest at the Bell Center prior to the game on March 15th, I can only speak for myself when I say that I hope the focus of the protest centers around the fact that the NHL now expects their players to take far too many risks and that they need to get serious about suspensions and safety. Hockey has always been a fast, dangerous sport. The lack of respect among players, and the flaccid, impotent rules (as well as the disciplinary office) only make it a more hazardous environment.