Friday, 8 November 2013

strictly come face-plant

I've probably never informed my 2.5 readers
about my appreciation for ice hockey and
my ire at fighting and rough-housing in
the professional game that uses muscle
to cancel out the real talent that everybody
pays to see.

This has once again done the rounds
because of some knuckleheads doing
some serious damage to somebody or
themselves. Here, the bruiser ends up
with a TKO, but because he was on
ice, the landing was anything but soft.

[please pick up your own teeth. thank you]

So, when one of my heroes puts on his
lawyer's mask and takes aim at hockey's
oligarchy, I'm paying attention.

Ken Dryden was an ace netminder when
I was an impressionable tyke. He's
got his name on the big trophies and
he used hockey to get a top-drawer
law education in the US.

I always thought he was a bit of a nerd
without his mask and acoutrements, but
actually we have common cause to
stop the so-called "manly" rights of
eye-gouging, spinal tapping, nose-breaking
stupidity that passes for hockey.

You want fights, check Bellator. In fact,
sign up to fight in Bellator. That oughta
put your faux manliness in its proper place.

Checkit:  New York Times

Researchers Press for Broad Ban on Hockey Fights
Published: October 9, 2013
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Researchers at a Mayo Clinic conference on concussions in hockey called Wednesday for a ban on fighting at all levels of the sport, eight days after a Montreal Canadiens enforcer was hospitalized because of a fight on opening night of the N.H.L. season.
The Canadiens’ George Parros, left, was hospitalized after falling to the ice face-first in a fight on the N.H.L.’s opening night.
“Science has responded to the game on the ice,” said Ken Dryden, a Hall of Fame Canadiens goalie and a member of the Canadian Parliament, who spoke at the conference. “Now it’s time for the game to respond to the science.”
Although no direct link has been established between fighting in hockey and long-term brain trauma, pathological studies indicate that fighting could lead to serious brain damage, the conference organizers said.
Dr. Michael Stuart, a director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center and the chief medical officer for USA Hockey, cited the opening-night fight in calling for professional and junior hockey to replace five-minute fighting penalties with automatic ejections and suspensions.

In that fight, on Oct. 1, Montreal’s George Parros was knocked unconscious after falling face-first to the ice. On Sept. 22, Buffalo’s Corey Tropp sustained a concussion and a broken jaw in a fight during a preseason game.

“You have grown men, standing on skates, punching each other in the head,” Stuart said. “They frequently fall, their helmet may come off, maybe their arms are pinned and the opponent falls on top of them, then their head hits the ice. Those forces acting on the brain are alarmingly high.”

In 2009, Don Sanderson, a 21-year-old Canadian amateur player, died after striking his head on the ice during a fight. Medical researchers at the Mayo Clinic conference said they believed it was only a matter of time before another player died as a result of a fight. Other attendees said the N.H.L. and junior leagues should drop fighting for liability reasons, as well as health and safety reasons.

Fighting results in automatic ejections in the N.C.A.A. and in youth hockey in the United States and Canada. But in junior hockey, players as young as 16 can engage in a fight and return to the game. In professional hockey, a player can engage in two fights in each game without being ejected and can frequently fight without being suspended.

In recent years the N.H.L. has gradually legislated against particular circumstances around fights, and the rate of fighting has slowly dropped, from about one per game in 1991-92 to half that last season. This season, players who remove their helmets to fight will receive an additional two-minute penalty — a rule meant to reduce the danger of heads hitting the ice. The league also mandated visors for all incoming players, which could also help deter fights.

“Rule changes that impact and reduce the role of fighting in the game have been, and I expect will continue to be, made over time, as and when they are deemed appropriate,” Bill Daly, the N.H.L.’s deputy commissioner, said in an e-mail. “The mandatory visor rule and the rule prohibiting the removal of helmets during fights were two such rules that were implemented just this past summer. I do not expect that we will change our traditional approach to how rules are changed and implemented in the game at any time in the foreseeable future.”

Proponents of fighting argue that it acts as a safety valve preventing more dangerous acts. They say enforcers play a policing role, helping to deter opponents from putting star players and others at risk.
“As contorted as the N.H.L.’s arguments always are in terms of responding to concerns about fighting, I think they’re almost at the final point of contortion,” Dryden told the conference. He said the mounting evidence about the dangers of brain trauma that had led the N.H.L. to legislate against checks to the head could soon lead the league to move more meaningfully against fighting.