Wednesday, October 8, 2008


The "new" NHL is based on two words: Speed and Excitement. As fans we love to hear these words because they mean a better viewing experience for us. What these words mean to the players is completely different. It means working harder in the offseason (if there really is one anymore). It means being able to keep up with the play. It also means that you have to keep your head up because danger is a millisecond away. This week in the final pre-season game at Florida, Chris Lee learned the last lesson quite well.

Although I didn't see the hit, from the reaction of fans on, Canada's equivalent to ESPN here in the States, was that of shock over the league's decision not to suspend the guilty party in the incident, Rotislav Olesz. In my mind, a hit that requires a player to be carted off the ice on a stretcher, conscious or not, should require a minimum of a 5 game suspension. If the player is injured as a result of the hit, the guilty party should be suspended for the amount of games the injured player is out. In that way, you will teach players not to deliberately attempt to injure an opponent with that kind of strict discipline. Would it apply to every hit that caused and injury? No. But the simple fact that the players these days are moving so fast that there has to be some thought process that goes along with it.

Last season, too many of these kind of hits occurred during the both the pre-season and the regular season. The Philadelphia Flyers in particular were a team that had several players commit such infractions. Speed is a great part of the game and should be utilized to create scoring chances, not to injure an opposing player. Now that being said, physical speed also requires a faster thinking speed. Sometimes it's difficult to react quickly when one is in a compromising position (see Patrice Bergeron's season ending hit for proof). So in a situation where a player is vulnerable, an opposing player should not be allowed to get away with just a game misconduct. There has to be supplemental discipline handed out no matter the role of the players involved.

Thank goodness that Chris Lee was conscious and was moving his extremities after the hit and subsequently was cleared to fly back to NY yesterday, albeit to the news that he was being sent to Bridgeport. His career will thankfully continue. Others may not be so lucky.

I wish you an easy fast for those observing Yom Kippur tonight and tomorrow as I am. I will be back tomorrow night with my season preview and predictions on where the Islanders will end up.

For Questions, Comments or Bonehead Calls e-mail me at

No comments: