It has been a week or so since the Kassian Tkachuk kerfuffle and the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players Association still continue to make me scratch my head. There are so many layers to this thing from poor officiating, poor situation recognition by linesman, breaking of that thing called the “code”, and then the vigilante justice that happens. These are all just symptoms of the real problem. The NHL and the NHLPA does not understand how good they can be. These players are supremely talented and yet the NHL and NHLPA fails to take measures to improve and protect their assets.
Players do the things they do because they know they can get away with it. Much like a child testing parental boundaries. Let’s see how far I can go until I piss Mom and Dad off. Clearly, the NHL, NHLPA and the Department of Player Safety (that always makes me laugh) have poor parenting skills. It is that simple. The NHLPA actually condones having it members go and hurt each other and quite possibly end a fellow members career. I just don’t get the penalties that the league hands out. It is so inconsistent, but at least they are consistent with that. How can Corey Perry get ten games for the Ryan Ellis hit to head, which was low and Chuckie gets nothing for the first hit on Kassian? Both players were in vulnerable positions, the principle point of contact was the head. Poor parenting skills by the NHL again. Are they not trying to get head shots out of the game? Saying and doing are two different things.
The National Hockey League and NHLPA have an obligation to their fan base and to all those aspiring players who want to play in the best professional league in the world. Kids are seeing this type of on ice nonsense and how it is accepted and tolerated by the NHL and the NHLPA. These minor players now bring this into the minor hockey environment making it a much more dangerous game than what it should be. You are seeing more hits on Twitter and YouTube by minor players that are really questionable. It is like a car cash, you have to look and when you do you ask yourself why?
Today’s minor hockey players are the first generation to grow up with complete access to the Internet. There is nothing they cannot see. They can look at great goals and attempt to mimic them as we see with the between the legs shots and the lacrosse style goals, which are good things. They can also look at hits that blow up players, and yes some, not all will try to mimic it as well. The NHL and the NHLPA permits this human demolition derby to continue without consequence. Here’s another thought for you. Why was Kassian not put into concussion protocol by the spotters after Chuckie’s first hit on him? It was a head shot. Another miss. Maybe if that happens, the other crap doesn’t.
The NHL and the NHLPA are like a box of chocolates and you never know what you are going to get. I still appreciate the skill and the athleticism of the players. It is beautiful to watch. However, I really do not think the NHL and the NHLPA appreciate their assets. The players are merely a source of revenue for both organizations. If I am a NHLPA member I am making dam sure I get everything I can out of them because I do not know if in 20 years I will be able to remember my name, or will I be taking meals through a straw, or being treated for mental illness. As for a contract they better make sure they get everything they can because their career can be ended by some A-hole who the NHL has let off the hook on multiple occasions.
One last point. In recent weeks we have seen an increase in lacrosse style goals. Once again another example of the great skill level. What we really need to take a look at is when they players go behind the net, drop their head to make the puck scoop off the ice is he not in a vulnerable position? A good NHL defenceman will pick up on the move and block the path to the net with body contact. Sure as hell some highly skilled forward will get blown up, and you know what will hit the fan!
Until next time!
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