Blow to the head leaves Marc Savard unconscious on the ice
NHL

Ho hum...Another Day, Another Deliberate Blow To The Head In The NHL

3/8/10 in NHL   |   billywa   |   658 respect

As a Bruins' fan, I freely admit, I'm taking this personally.  And this is going to be more of a rant than an informative article.  So, with that said....

What will it take for the NHL to do something to get blows to the head out of the game?  Will it take a death?  Will it take someone getting paralyzed?  Will losing a name star like Sydney Crosby for any amount of time spur the league into action?  Will it require the player's union to actually pull their head out of their own butts and realize they're risking their own livelihood by not speaking up?

If you didn't see it, just a week after one of the more talked about hockey games in years, the NHL reverted its' more standard format on Sunday when Pen's forward Matt Cooke took out Bruin Marc Savard with a blindside shoulder to the head. The hit left Savard unconscious and he left the ice on a stretcher after ten minutes.  Though he wasn't penalized, Cooke will likely face a suspension.

Yes, I'm upset that one of my favorite players went down, but I'm even more upset at the NHL for allowing this to continue happening.  I understand physical contact is part of the game and that's an element that I love about hockey.  But shots to the head are not part of the game and deliberate attempts to injure should be legislated out of the game entirely.  

Let me also add that, traditionally in hockey, these things could be settled on the ice.  But, sooner or later, an "eye for an eye" on the ice won't be sufficient when someone has been killed, paralyzed, or had his career ended.

Savard suffered a concussion and will likely be OK, but who knows how long he'll be out.  His absence is especially crucial for the B's, who need all the offense they can get and are fighting for a playoff berth.  My guess is, as a repeat offender, Cooke could get up to a ten game suspension.  And that's nothing compared what might have befallen Marc Savard.  The punishment will likely fit the crime this time.  But what about next time a player is deliberately injured by an opponent with a blow to the head?
Source: (sports.yahoo.com)
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7/5/10   |   ML31   |   3673 respect

nyrangers wrote:
Uhh...the issue here isn't about fighting. Fighting has many purposes, and despite this cheap shot, fighting DOES help prevent these sort of things. I won't get into this argument because we both know it leads nowhere.

The issue you brought up is interesting, though. I'm shocked that not one Bruins player took care of Cooke after that hit, especially since Dan Bylsma (can't spell Pens coach name) threw him back out on the ice after that. Maybe the Bruins didn't see the hit? Unlikely. Maybe they just didn't want to go after him because they didn't want to get suspended; they assumed Cooke would get a suspension and didn't want to take revenge and hurt themselves. Who knows.

Either way, the league is a joke. Why can't they just suspend players for taking cheap shots like they do in EVERYTHING ELSE? Imagine this happening in the NFL...or even the NBA or MLB. That guy would be done for weeks. Granted, hockey is a faster-paced collision sport where incidental contact is more likely, but one can easily determine the intent of a hit. In this case, it's obvious Cooke his Savard with the intent to injure and take their best player ouf of the game. There's no excuse for the non-suspension

This was an extreme cheap shot, but there are just too many other cheap shots going on to conclude that fighting retards their occurrence. 


Funny that you brought up what would happen if this sort of thing happened in MLB et al.  Because if guys threw punches in those sports they would be gone for weeks and fined record amounts.

3/11/10   |   nyrangers   |   192 respect

ML31 wrote:
What about all you pro fighting people?  I thought that hits like this are deterred because the offending player would become a marked man?  Wasn't this suposedly the reason the fights should remain?  And yet, this crap still happens even WITH the threat of getting beaten up by the other team's goon.  It is more evidence the fights need to stop.  Severe penalties DO work.  They just have to be severe.  Look what happened to bench clearing brawls when the penalties became severe...  Third man in gets fined and suspended...  First player off the bench gets fined and suspended...  Coaches get fined and suspended....  TEAMS get fined.  And the brawls of that nature are all but extinct.

If Bertuzzi were suspended for a full year or more for what he did earlier, I doubt you would see anything like the Cooke incident at all.

But I don't see it happening.  The league is too afraid to do what it takes to protect their players and improve the popularity of the game.  And the players seem to prefer the "frontier justice" thing anyway.  So doubtful the NHLPA will want to do anything either.

Uhh...the issue here isn't about fighting. Fighting has many purposes, and despite this cheap shot, fighting DOES help prevent these sort of things. I won't get into this argument because we both know it leads nowhere.

The issue you brought up is interesting, though. I'm shocked that not one Bruins player took care of Cooke after that hit, especially since Dan Bylsma (can't spell Pens coach name) threw him back out on the ice after that. Maybe the Bruins didn't see the hit? Unlikely. Maybe they just didn't want to go after him because they didn't want to get suspended; they assumed Cooke would get a suspension and didn't want to take revenge and hurt themselves. Who knows.

Either way, the league is a joke. Why can't they just suspend players for taking cheap shots like they do in EVERYTHING ELSE? Imagine this happening in the NFL...or even the NBA or MLB. That guy would be done for weeks. Granted, hockey is a faster-paced collision sport where incidental contact is more likely, but one can easily determine the intent of a hit. In this case, it's obvious Cooke his Savard with the intent to injure and take their best player ouf of the game. There's no excuse for the non-suspension

3/11/10   |   nyrangers   |   192 respect

What will it take to get rid of cheap shots like this? For someone to go after and injure Crosby. THAT'S what it will take. If a crazy dirty hit (on a very good player and arguably the B's most valuable player, no less) like this isn't suspension worthy, then it's gonna take their poster boy getting knocked out cold on the ice by a guy like Shawn Thornton for the league to step in and do something.

What a joke this league is.

3/9/10   |   ML31   |   3673 respect

The Bruins aren't the only team to receive cheap shots over the last few years.  It has little to do with what goons are available to dispense the frontier justice.  It has everything to do with the league and the refs not doing their jobs.  Eventually, some player must be made an example of.  That is the only thing that will stop it.  Fisticuffs only make the issue worse.

3/9/10   |   Mannysworld   |   121 respect

The League flat out refuses to take any serious action on hits like these. Campbells interview today was a perfect example. He stated that it was a legit hit because he used his shoulder, not his elbow. He NEVER acknwledged that the lowering of the shoulder resulted in a deliberate, direct blow to the head of a defenseless player.  He is a complete moron. It is about "intent to injure", not "intent to use the elbow".
As far as the Bruins themselves, they have had 3 players miss significant time because of blows to the head.  The reason is because no one fears the Bruins as a team. Shawn Thornton and Milan Lucic are the only ones who will fight. Other teams KNOW  that they can take liberties with the better players on the Bruins because there is little to no chance of retribution from the rest of the team. Its embarrassing. I am not advocating brawls or "fighting just to fight" but there comes a point where you have to be able to defend yourself. And the Bruins can't or worse....won't.

3/9/10   |   ML31   |   3673 respect

raptrbreth wrote:
Dirty hits that cause a player to lose playing time should be dealt with severely.  I wonder why anyone would bring up fighting in the game in this case.  Fighting will remain in the game for a long time.  I didn't see the box score on this game, did anyone fight in that game?  Most avid hockey fans see the purpose behind it.

I brought up the fighting because those who say it is "part of the game" say that the fighting is needed to keep players from taking cheap shots and dirty hits...  Like what Cooke just did.  Yet those hits and cheap shots keep happening despite the threat of getting beaten up.  This is evidence the fights need to go away and justice needs to be dispensed by the Refs and league.  Not the players.

3/9/10   |   raptrbreth   |   19 respect

Dirty hits that cause a player to lose playing time should be dealt with severely.  I wonder why anyone would bring up fighting in the game in this case.  Fighting will remain in the game for a long time.  I didn't see the box score on this game, did anyone fight in that game?  Most avid hockey fans see the purpose behind it.

3/8/10   |   ML31   |   3673 respect

What about all you pro fighting people?  I thought that hits like this are deterred because the offending player would become a marked man?  Wasn't this suposedly the reason the fights should remain?  And yet, this crap still happens even WITH the threat of getting beaten up by the other team's goon.  It is more evidence the fights need to stop.  Severe penalties DO work.  They just have to be severe.  Look what happened to bench clearing brawls when the penalties became severe...  Third man in gets fined and suspended...  First player off the bench gets fined and suspended...  Coaches get fined and suspended....  TEAMS get fined.  And the brawls of that nature are all but extinct.

If Bertuzzi were suspended for a full year or more for what he did earlier, I doubt you would see anything like the Cooke incident at all.

But I don't see it happening.  The league is too afraid to do what it takes to protect their players and improve the popularity of the game.  And the players seem to prefer the "frontier justice" thing anyway.  So doubtful the NHLPA will want to do anything either.

3/8/10   |   gobigblue1960   |   4803 respect

Moore, and the Pens will say he was just finishing off his check, that he just made a hockey play. Baloney. He hit him in the head after taking at least one stride toward Savard. The puck was clearly gone before Cooke hit him.
In last years Cup Finals,  Cooke was a less than a Lady Bing performer, and he has a history of on ice incidents.  Let's hope Commissioner Bettman does the right thing, and suspends Cooke for at least the period of time Savard is out of the Bruins lineup. My guess is, he gets a couple of games, mostly because he plays for the Pen's, the defending champs, and the favorite to get back to the Finals from the Eastern Conference.

3/8/10   |   marcus_nyce   |   27038 respect

The NHL is too lenient period. $1500 fines and a few games suspensions are a joke. As for these types of hits, they need to send a message loud and clear. They need to start being proactive instead of reactive like the other leagues do in terms of their disciplinary policy. These aren't isolated incidents anymore, they are a very dangerous trend. If the NHLPA was worth their weight in pucks they would have been out in front of this already to protect its own. Administratively the league is a mess.

3/8/10   |   Mannysworld   |   121 respect

Best two ways to end it off the top of my head: first the player recieves an automatic 2 game suspension, then make the player sit out the number of games the injured player misses. So in this case if Savard misses 10 games with a concussion, then Cooke misses the automatic 2 plus eight more. Maybe you could put a cap of no more than 25 games or something. Again just throwing random numbers out here, but you get my point.
 The other way is to somehow penalize the team.  Maybe the second team offense costs them a draft pick or cash.

3/8/10   |   The_Real_Stoney   |   25095 respect

(Edited by The_Real_Stoney)

All you can do is give stiffer penalties.  The hit by Cooke was dirty, but when you have a lot of 6'3"-6'4" D-men going to hit forwards who are 5'-10" there are going to be incidental instances where guys will get hit in the head.. It's hpart of the game and it always has been.  It's the dirty stuff that needs to be handled, and suspensions need to be extended for these clearly dirty hits

3/8/10   |   keppieboy   |   158 respect

 Even if someone dies I doubt anything will be done.

3/8/10   |   Debi_L   |   11845 respect

MrNFL wrote:
Bertuzzi put Steve Moore out of hockey with a blatant blow to the head, and yet Bertuzzi is still in the league.

Oddly enough, I was going to bring up Bertuzzi, but things have changed little since that hit.  They continue to happen and seem to be more accepted as opposed to more abhorred. Sad

3/8/10   |   Debi_L   |   11845 respect

While I am not in favor of "over-policing" the hits players are allowed to make on each other, you are right.  As long as the NHL doesn't come right out and state that these kinds of hit will not be tolerated, they will continue to happen.  We've seen game suspensions, but I guess that isn't enough.  Will it take career ending injury? Life ending injury? I hope not.  Perhaps a permanent suspension from the leage, perhaps the players association needs to step in and suspend Cooke from the Association, or cancel his membership.  removing his permission to play. 

Someone needs to step up and set some rules to stop this from happening.  The unfortunate part is, it IS the grey areas that prevent it.

3/8/10   |   MrNFL   |   175 respect

Bertuzzi put Steve Moore out of hockey with a blatant blow to the head, and yet Bertuzzi is still in the league.