Monday, March 15, 2010

Head shot handling leaving NHL looking a little punch drunk

You know you've lost the high ground when Don Cherry, the creative genius of the Rock Em' Sock Em' video empire comes out in favour of suspensions for physical play and suggests that the NHL is asking for trouble for its lack of focus on the issue of head shots on the ice.

Such is the lot of the NHL these days as they stumble through yet another public relations mess over the issue of shots to the head, the latest tempest Matt Cooke's now much documented blind side hit on the Boston Bruin's Marc Savard.

The warnings have been made clear now, that by their inaction in providing a suspension and a stern one at that to Cooke, that it very well may be open season now in the NHL.

The NHL's executives offered up a bit of damage control last week during the course of their Florida conclave, with Colin Campbell trotting out to highlight all the new wording for the rule book for next season.

The fact that his review of the new rules was then followed by a free pass for Cooke has only served to indicate how out of touch the NHL seems to be with the current of the moment (Mike Milbury notwithstanding) to remove the obvious attempts to injure a player from the game.

We're not sure how they interpret their own rule book up at the head office, but down on the ice it certainly looked as though Mr. Savard was the target of a brutal hit, one which surely should have been addressed by the on ice officials and then by the NHL head office.

As though to highlight the trouble the NHL is creating for itself with its mixed messages and inability to get it right once and for all, the satirical website The Onion, has chosen the head shot issue for some scathing satire.

For the NHL, the damage is clearly done when they're not laughing with you, but laughing at, if not mocking you.

The fallout continues in the media, and for the most part it seems that few believe the NHL is on the right track!

Boston Herald-- Colin Campbell’s act appalling
Toronto Star-- Woolsey: NHL fumbling in the dark on head shots
Toronto Star-- Can't Canada just leave hockey alone?
Boston Globe-- In Savard case, league shows its own blind side
Vancouver Sun-- What's an acceptable risk? Depends on your emotional attachment
National Post-- Cooke isn't the only coward here
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-- NHL welcomes violence, so look out Sid!

First posted to the blog HockeyNation