Glenn Anderson on head shots 3

As we head (ahem) into the final game – or two – of the 2010-11 NHL season, here’s our resident expert, Glenn Anderson, on the issue that will define this season for all time. History won’t remember Tim Thomas’s heroics, Kesler’s grit, and St-Louis’ ageless speed as touchstones from 2010-11 – but we’ll be talking for a long time about the hits to the head and concussions suffered by Richards, Savard (again), Pacioretty, and of course Crosby.

Here’s Anderson on the subject:

Interestingly, Anderson puts more of the responsibility on the puck-carrier and the coaches than on the hitter. “Keep your head up and protect yourself” is his message, and it’s still the message in most of the NHL. Current NHLers who grew up watching Scott Stevens level guys who crossed the blue line with their head down, or looking at their pass (hello Eric Lindros) are now for the first time being told, “hey, you can’t hit a guy if he doesn’t have the puck on his stick at the moment of impact – and even then, you can’t make contact with his head.”

Until last year – or maybe even last month – the hit that Aaron Rome laid on Nathan Horton would have been applauded by all, except for maybe Horton himself. We’re not condoning what Rome did, only saying that the adjustment to the new guidelines continues to be a challenge for the players. And for the league: does anyone else get the sense that the NHL is kind of making this up as they go along? We heard they just changed Rule 48, or are thinking of changing it, or giving it a new number maybe. What does all this mean?

What it means is that after the hardware’s handed out later this week, the NHL er, brain trust will be spending a lot of time talking about what Glenn Anderson’s talking about here – and a lot of time maybe watching this, too:

Leave a comment

3 thoughts on “Glenn Anderson on head shots

  • Superscout

    I hear what Anderson is saying but I still believe that what is happening is a structural change in the game. The players are too big, too fast and too armoured to be colliding mid-ice – deliberately or accidentally. Speaking of accidentally – I liken some of these hits these days – Steckel on Crosby, Rome on Horton – to devastating car accidents. And I think that pretty soon players are actually going start dying on the ice as a result of these crashes. Yep – dead at the scene – that’s my prediction. And no new-fangled Mark Messier helmet is going to prevent that. And if indeed the speed and size of players continues to increase, the NHL and other hockey bodies will have little choice but to eliminate all open-ice checking. Abbot – you are quite right in identifying the head shot as the focal issue in this period of hockey history. As for me, I feel as though I am witnessing the end of a style of hockey, the end of an era. May the next era continue to be about an intense and passionate game but also one which allows it’s best players to survive and be fit enough to let their great talents shine.

  • the Abbot Post author

    Agree with your thinking, SS. Maybe Anderson’s not factoring the speed & size thing into his comments – or the fact that the shifts are shorter and so much more intense than they were during the 80s Oilers heyday.

    No helmet will help this problem, because a concussion is the result of the brain rattling around INSIDE THE SKULL and not the result of the skull rattling around inside the helmet. A better helmet might mitigate or reduce these injuries some, but a sweeping re-visioning of body contact is necessary if the NHL wants to eliminate this problem.

    The question is, do they?