Guest blogger: Manny … The Concussion “Epidemic”

384

The Concussion “Epidemic”

Concussions have become as main stream as movies, popcorn and teenie-boppers.  Sadly, those outside the “hockeyverse” have learned more about hockey through the talk about concussions and CTE than they could by watching this wonderful sport that we treat like a religion.  As of now, it seems to my untrained mind that science has not pinpointed and separated the types and degrees of concussions, if that exists, and still has trouble defining what a concussion actually is, scientifically speaking, and what the definitive long term effects of head trauma are.  Finally, we don’t know if repeated low impact blows to the head are as dangerous, or possibly more dangerous, than fewer massive blows. For more on that see this National Geographic article: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/02/big-idea/concussions-text#.

It could be that our hyper-awareness of the danger of head injuries has led to more concussions being diagnosed thus increasing the number of concussions reportedly suffered.  The days of “getting your bell rung” are over.  So no matter what, the numbers are going to be skewed.  They will remain so until medically scientific research is able to parse out the exact nature of the concussion and how to treat it.  Further, not all concussions are caused by direct contact to the head.  The actual concussion occurs from the brain slamming into the cranium.  Thus, many players receive concussions, over 51.2 percent, from secondary impact following the body check.

A recent Sports Illustrated article claimed that for every 100 NHL games played, 5.23 players suffer from a concussion, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nhl/news/20130719/nhl-concussions-hits-to-head-study. You can find the actual Medical Journal article here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0069122.  The study shows that Rule 48, and the NHL crackdown on hits to the head have showed absolutely no improvement on the rate of players sustaining concussions.   So if the rule changes are not going to help save our ice heroes, what will?  And with the NHL facing a class action law suit, it’s time to get serious about reducing the number of avoidable, career-threatening injuries in the game.  Here are five suggestions for reducing concussions.  I have no medical training, no expertise and am merely speaking as a fan.

5. Shoulder Pads

            My reasoning here is simple: which would you rather be hit in the head with: a shoulder muscle or a hard plastic pad meant to deflect and absorb the force of impact?  The answer, for those of you that have not suffered massive repeated head trauma, would be the regular human shoulder muscle.  As the technology surrounding the armor that our ice heroes wear has improved, so has the damage that the padding can do to the body that it’s striking.  Much like SUV’s, while the person wearing the padding might be protected, the head and body that the padding is striking, is not as protected.

My theory is that if padding was reduced, players would not only be more conscious of hitting squarely to protect themselves, but the human body, which was engineered through thousands of years of evolution, would be able to more safely absorb the impact from a fellow human.

4. Larger Ice

            This is a no-brainer.  Right now, the NHL ice sheet is 200 feet in length and 85 feet in width.  As we saw in Sochi, Russia, the Olympic sheet is also 200 feet in length, but 100 feet in width.  Olympic hockey is much less congested and much more conducive to the modern breakout style of hockey being played in the NHL.

With two linesmen, two referees, two goaltenders with their trapezoid, net and crease as well as six forwards and four defenders the NHL ice size can get very, very crowded.  This means that there will be more low impact hits due to ice congestion.  We have even seen instances of players on the same team crashing into each other and suffering concussions due to the sheer speed of the game and the ice congestion.

Adding a mere five feet of width  to the NHL ice, which would make the NHL ice size 200 feet in length and 90 feet in width would be a nice compromise between owners, who don’t want to lose valuable, expensive ticket sales, and player safety.

3. Two-Line Pass

            We just talked about ice congestion, well let’s talk about speed.  The NHL wants goals, speed and big hits.  Those are what the NHL presumes sells tickets due to their excitement.  That was the NHL’s reasoning behind eliminating the two-line pass.

We all played NHL video games growing up and we all turned off the two-line pass and the off-sides (as well as line changes) so we could power our way to a virtual Stanley Cup.  Why did we do that: because the game was easier, faster and more exciting without those rules in place.  That’s all well and good in virtual world where players don’t suffer injuries, but in the real world, that’s a dangerous cocktail.

The new pace of breakout hockey stresses moving the puck quickly from the defender, that “first pass”, to the neutral zone and through to the offensive zone for a breakaway or odd-man rush.  This leads to more open ice hits because players are not only skating at speeds that would get them pulled over in a school zone but also because they are looking for that pass rather than keeping their head up.

Bringing the two-line pass would slow the play down in the neutral zone, forcing a regroup into the offensive zone which would greatly reduce the speed at which open ice hits, which at least look to be the most brutal, occur.

2. Allow for more Interference

            Watching Women’s Hockey at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi I was struck by how much interference they allow along the wall and around the blue line.  A lot more of the “Lidstrom” type defense along the blue line (hands to the chest!) and a lot more clutching around the boards.  This really slows the players down and reduces the hits that the players to which the players are vulnerable.

I suggest that the NHL adopt this approach.  If we recall the Patrick Kaleta hit on Brad Richards (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9e7NaNWzcg), we can break down how this would help.  First, we have to imagine that it’s not Patrick Kaleta but some other NHL player with respect for fellow players that wouldn’t attempt to injure someone.  That hit is probably one of the most dangerous hits in hockey, second to only the cross check to the lower back on a full speed puck race.  But the problem is that the defensive player has no choices.  He cannot clutch and grab because he will be called for holding.  He can’t check the player into the boards because he will be called for boarding since the offensive player has turned his back square to the defender a la Dennis Rodman.

This creates a rock and a hard place situation for defensemen that would be made much safer if a little clutching and grabbing were allowed along the boards.   It’s safer to be held than it is to be thrown full force and face first into the boards.

1. Concussion Research

            Finally, as Tony from AZ would say, “Research, research, research.”  There are two options: either prevent concussions or learn how to properly diagnose and treat them.  So far, preventing them has proven to be more difficult than initially assumed.  Similarly, diagnosing and treating is another grey area that requires a lot of research.

The NHL and the NHLPA should be pouring millions of dollars into concussion research on an annual basis to protect not only the players but the league and the sport.  It is vital that the medical community learn to identify, grade and treat concussions effectively before they turn into long term brain damage.

Photo by Getty Images.

 

About Author

384 Comments

  1. The game is much faster than it was 30 years ago.

    The players are much bigger.

    There is much, much more hitting and it is not only accepted but expected. “Finish your check” has gotten to he point where guys get hit a good few seconds after they move the puck. The point of hitting is to separate the man from the puck. If he no longer has the puck then you shouldn’t be allowed to hit him.

    Equipment doesn’t prevent concussions , they are acceleration/deceleration injuries. And we pretty much do know what they are and they used to be tremendously under diagnosed. The nfl and nhl better be careful – there’s a reason why boxing no longer appeals to anybody.

  2. Manny, good read. I do think that the larger ice surface would help, but i also think the Refs need to start calling less of the pansification penalties (holding, hooking etc) and flag guys for dangerous hits and staged fights.

  3. you are on to something with the shoulder pads, after that, not so much. I would put the 2 line pass back in because it makes for a better game, not because it would slow concussions, it wouldn’t. as far as more interference goes, we have seen the game when they allowed that, it sucks.
    you want real changes that will help? move the nets back to where they were. allow the Dmen to use the nets to protect themselves. right now they are sitting ducks because of the extra space back there. also if a player turns there back along the boards, allow thee attacking player to wrap up the player with his back turned, and bring him to the boards.

  4. the larger ice surface would make the NHL game dull, and even more low scoring. everything would be on the outside. it would turn into soccer.

  5. Don’t forget the rock hard elbow pad – to the chin.

    It might help if we could bubble wrap those. This was the hit that knocked my son out last year. It was a hit that knocked him out of the game for two weeks. He couldn’t pass the test to even practice.

    I can’t help to think what a real helmet would save the players from career ending concussions . To avoid the Sauer type hits. Make it safer – put a chin strap on it. So it protects your career and keeps your Helmuth ON!

  6. What ever happened to Messier’s Helmet? Why is that not the league’s minimal standard to protection to the head of hockey players at all ages?

  7. Excellent piece, Manny. I do like the idea about less padding. It might lead to fewer players throwing their bodies in front of 90 MPH pucks.

    I remember talk of a line around the perimeter, parallel to the boards, sort of a no contact from behind zone. They (the NHL) were going to a trial on it at some level. I remember Leech discussing it.

  8. Wow, very well done Manny! Kudos for looking up and finding some medical literature too. I’ll say this about the medical field- we do know now more about concussion ( the term used in medical literature now is MTBI- mild traumatic brain injury) than we used to even a decade ago. While much confusion still exists about the grading of it, we do have a better knowledge of pathophysiology, risks and complications of MTBI. Most importantly, it’s diagnosed better, signs are recognized earlier, algorithms have been developed to help people even in non-medical field to have better knowledge of early signs of that unfortunate entity. That contributed, to an extent, to the MTBI “epidemic”. What we don’t have, however, is much to offer in terms of definitive treatment. So for now, prevention remains the main goal.

  9. I agree with Peter in terms of the speed, size of the players etc. I want to add something else. At the beginning of 90’s only two players were making $1M- Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Daren Langdon was already making $600K in 2000, Colton Orr’s salary in 2009 was $1M. My point is this- it’s a very lucrative sport, more than it’s ever been. The moment you start playing in NHL your salary is over half a million right away. Players will try to use any “skill” they possess to make a living. We can preach all we want about mutual respect, but so long as the league allows players with skills limited to fighting, agitating, and head hunting, we will have cookes, sestitos, and rinaldos of this world.
    And mr. Bettman, along with owners, will continue to add more teams to this league ( 32 in 2-3 years anyone? ) in order to make more profits. Guess what, the pool of skilled players will be even more diluted, adding more and more head hunters who can only make a living one way.

  10. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Mannulok,
    Well done sir, well done!!

    I agree with every point (I’ve been saying allow more interference for ever!!!!) adamantly, except the ice surface size which I feel should remain as is.

    Fixing the other issues will make the ice size a non issue.

    Well done and atta boy!!

  11. I agree with Peter above with regard to “finishing your check.” I would like to see a trial period of only allowing checking if the player actually has the puck on his stick. Once the puck is released, that player would be off limits.
    Of course if they REALLY wanted to reduce player injuries (the NHL and NHLPA) they would require all players to wear full facemasks with fitting chin cups. While we are at it, the penalty for fighting should be severe enough that fighting would be virtually eliminated. How many man/games are lost each year due to head and face injuries?

  12. Bull dog- did you watch Olympics? Any of Euro league games? Larger ice surface would not make the game dull, it would allow more speed, stick handling, and more precise passing to be much more prevalent in the game. The only reason it’s not going to happen is because it would take too much money for all the current NHL buildings to convert.

  13. Helmets will only make direct blow to the head (elbow, hitting the ice while falling) less devastating. It won’t do anything to decrease the main reason for concussions- acceleration/deceleration impact. Most of the injuries are due to that.

  14. Personally i dont see the point of large shoulder pads in terms of protection, surely they are only protecting the hitter at the expense of the player getting hit?
    If padding is to protect players from the impact of hits/pucks/boards then surely the protection should be maximised across the torso, head and legs with minimal padding around the shoulders/arms/elbows to enable better puck control and make a player think twice about using their shoulder or elbow in an aggressive manner – or even to use it as protection against an onrushing player.

  15. Rob in Beantown on

    Awesome read Manny. Guest bloggers rock!

    Regarding headgear: the NCAA is in the process of banning the full face cages in favor of 3/4 visors. The reason? Heavily armored players are more reckless on the ice, and the thinking is that taking away some of that protection will make the game safer and the hits smarter. There is also some research that the cages absorb hits in a way that makes players more prone to concussions. Interesting stuff.

  16. Awesome picture, Carp! Great choice.

    Thanks for the kind words guys. I was hoping for more anger and outrage though.

  17. If you guyses are interested *here* is a study done that involves placing sensors in helmets to measure the impact a player sustains during the course of a game. This study relates to football, and measures both small and large impacts to the head, but could be easily applied to hockey:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1896070/

    There are *MANY* of these studies out there. I will try to find the other one. The specific one I posted actually placed a sensor in the mouthguard.

  18. Peter and Dangir, I could agree more with the “finishing your check” point. This has gotten, and has always been ridiculous. This has always been a head scratcher for me. Sure there are times when the checker has no time to pull up, but more often that not, there is ample time to stop, veer off, or actually pursue the puck.

    “Finishing the Check” is coach speak for sending a message to the other team saying “We’re not going to let you get comfortable out there” Which is sound hockey strategy and major part of fore checking, but some of the “finishing his check” comments thrown out there by analysts are on laughably late hits.

  19. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Manny – that was a good piece. Here are 3 more suggestions:

    A) instead of 5 skaters aside, go with just 2. Each team has a goalie, a Dman, and a forward;

    2) each player wears full on goalie equipment including motorcycle helmet;

    D) add 4 extra lines and allow only 1 line passes.

    These suggestions would improve safety and make for a more exciting game.

  20. To the chin strap issue: many (most?) players wear their helmets on their heads as decoration, with the chin strap sagging well below the chin — macho chic. International rules send the player straight off if his helmet comes off, so it hurts his team to wear a floppy helmet. Enforcing proper helmet use would certainly help at the margins, fewer helmets rattling around on contact with the boards. Ultimately, though, the players need to take care of each other, and at the moment there’s negative incentive to do that.

    It’s a tricky business — the college game took a big step backwards with the introduction of the facemasks, which brought the sticks and hits up on day one. The good intention was to save a few eyes a year. The unintended consequence was Travis Roy, figuratively speaking.

  21. Eddie just made a sweet and subtle Home Alone reference while making three excellent points. Skills.

  22. Stranger Nation on

    call the rule book (charging) and truly enforce the egregious infractions (Shanaban is a joke).

    Concussions were always there, awareness has increased the attention and diagnoses.

    2 line pass = left wing lock??

  23. First year Psychology books(2011&on) have a chapter devoted to brain diseases and concussions. A few of your questions can be answered there.

  24. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    JLo, JLaw, and JCrew for Baby Face Nelson, Baby Jane, and Baby Huey.

    Manny – great guest blog. The concussion epidemic is reaching a tipping point. Something needs to happen and ye right soon.

  25. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Booby – great catch. Manny actually paved the way re: buzz and home alone. I’ve always enjoyed sitting in meetings and listing 3 points by using a, 2, and D. No one has ever caught it or perhaps thought I was a lunatic.

  26. *Manny*, really enjoyed this article. Stuff like this from a passionate AND well-read fan makes for an interesting and thought-provoking read. Well done!

    If I may (knowing you’re the *king* of metal and all), I disagree with your suggestion of bringing back the *two-line pass*. This game is much faster now than it was 20, even 10 years ago, but I don’t think that’s because of the two-line pass (or lack there of). I think the players are better conditioned and work harder off the ice than they ever have. Therefore, two-line pass or not, there is going to be speed and there are going to be plenty of open ice hits. Adding the two-line pass rule again would be a mistake. This game is about creativity, flow, and risk, and you minimize all those things by adding the two-line pass call, which frankly, would make for a less-interesting game.

    Besides, I think most concussion-inducing hits happen around and because of the boards. I’d like to see some sort of stat or number that counts how many concussions happen because of open-ice hits as opposed to against the boards. That Kaleta/Richards play doesn’t end in a concussion if the boards aren’t there to knock Brad’s noggin backward.

    In the end, I think these hits decrease if the NHL just decides to make the right calls and penalize properly, both in terms of penalty minutes and fines/suspensions (emphasis on the later).

  27. Stranger Nation on

    General Electric, Captain Crunch, and Sergeant O’Rourke for General Motors, Captain Caveman and Corporal O’Reilly

  28. Messier’s Cascade was bought by bauer a couple of years back. It now goes under the Bauer IMS line of helmets.

  29. Interesting read – well done. It would help to see stats on where concussions take place in hockey – how many from big open-ice hits, boarding, elbows to the head, fighting, etc.

  30. Notice how the Violent Gentleman of the Mannytoba Murders didn’t take FIGHTING out of hockey.

    Lot’s of head blows there, that might take a few concussions out of the game.

    What say you?

  31. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Shirley Winter, Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, Winter Olympics, and Winter of my Discontent for Fall Down, Fall on Me, and Fall leaves’ colors

  32. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Johnny Weir and Bobby Weir for Jerry Coleman, Jerry Garcia, Ben & Jerry, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jerry Mahoney.

  33. Doodie Machetto on

    Been super busy with work so I haven’t been able to come around to talk.

    First, Manny, let me say I really enjoyed your post. Second, let me say that I disagreed with almost all of it.

    Reducing padding just changes what is going to get injured from heads to shoulders. While a head injury, long term, is more likely to create problems later in life, a shoulder injury is just as likely to create immediate problems for a player’s career. Furthermore, those injuries would occur much more frequently than head injuries, since hard plastic on shoulder pads mostly creates the extra risk for concussions through direct contact rather than secondary effect, whereas the shoulder would be affected on every single hit (including misses against the boards).

    They will not expand the ice surface because it would still cost money to retrofit every arena with a larger ice surface. Furthermore, I’d like to respectfully disagree with ilb and state that international ice breeds BORING games.

    The whole reason we got rid of the two-line pass and interference was to open the game up, increase scoring, and allow skill players to shine. As far as I’m concerned, the level of skill and speed of play is the best that I’ve ever seen it. Reintroducing them sends the league in the totally opposite and wrong direction.

    However, I agree entirely about increasing research.

  34. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Kate Capshaw, Kate Upton, Kiss Me Kate, and Cate Blanchett for Sean Avery, Sean Connery, and Sean Penn.

  35. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Doodie – but, by taking shoulder pads out of the equation, players would be less willing to throw shoulder hits – end of story no?

    Not this season, but the the last time prior that the rangers played the sharks (rangers won in a SO) I was down low outside the rangers entrance to the ice and I asked Rammer about all of the concussions and injuries that were occurring and he said it was due largely to the equipment. And he pointed to his shoulder when he said it.

  36. Stranger Nation on

    Tex Winter, Tex Richards and Austin Powers for Tony Orlando, Florida Evans (Good Times), and the Tallahassee Lassie

  37. Doodie Machetto on

    I don’t know how everyone was reacting to the potential St. Louis trade, but never in a million years would Yzerman have made that deal, one for one. St. Louis is the better player with the better contract situation. Makes absolutely no sense.

    From a Rangers perspective, you’d like to see the team trade Callahan for more assets and/or a budding star, but I’d actually accept the St. Louis deal because we would get at least a year (including this year’s playoffs) of St. Louis, and in a worst-case scenario, we could move him at next year’s deadline and probably get as much in return as we would get this year for Callahan.

  38. Sean Avery, James Avery, Avery Johnson, Magic Johnson & Lyndon B Johnson for Ryan Callahan & Harry Callahan

  39. Manny’s post is on point. I’d also like to see players take more responsibility in protecting themselves. Some of them are oblivious about their whereabouts on the ice, while others skate with a false sense of invulnerability because of the current rules. Playing hockey is akin to driving on the parkway. There are rules that are supposed to protect drivers, but some idiot is bound to do something stupid to cause an accident. It is your responsibility to not put yourself in a position to be a victim in said accident.

  40. Stranger Nation on

    Reggie Dunlop, Gail Goodrich, Pat Cooper and Mr. Goodyear for EJ Korvette, Toyota Kowasaki, Tom Ford, and ‘Cadillac’ Williams

  41. Doodie Machetto on

    Ultimately, I think it comes down to educating players to protect themselves. Don’t call penalties for guys that turn at the last second to accept a boarding to draw a penalty. If that proves too difficult to enforce, do it after the fact via fine or suspension. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the same as diving, except that you actually have to get hit.

    As for two-line passes, don’t bring them back, but rather teach players not to serve their teammates up for a crushing blow over the middle. Teach players to keep their heads on a swivel and not to accept such a pass lest they be crushed for being so foolish.

  42. Great job, *Manny*! *Uber-metal* post. I hate the two line pass, but I think you make valid arguments.

    I’m impressed that you actually did *research* and *linked* to supporting sites throughout (although I should know better since you’re a *big shot* attorney).

  43. I was sort of buying into the Boomer BS until he admitted it was Cally for Saint Looey. Maybe Boomer dropped some acid and thinks he heard Whyzerman & Sather agreeing on the trade. Just an illusion. Not happening in real life.

    I don’t have the latest NHL video game, but if anyone has some time, can you start a season with Tampa or NYR, and try and trade Cally for Saint Looey. I want to know if it goes through.

    I think I still have NHL 14, so I’ll try on that game next chance I get.

  44. To tell you the truth, at this point, if Chris Stewart is still available, one for one, I’m probably taking that trade.

    If Cally doesn’t want to lower his demands, and we’re going to lose him for nothing, then fugg it. Offensively, and physically, you’re probably getting the same production.

  45. The only problem I have with Stewart is his cap hit. He’d have the 5th highest hit on the team, and he’s a bit of an enigma.

  46. Doodie Machetto on

    Orr, I hate the Stewart trade. I don’t mind the concept of dealing Callahan, but Stewart is more headache than he’s worth.

  47. Is Kaleta still in the game?

    If you truly wanted to take the dirty hits out of the game, that seem to cause some of the biggest concussions, like the one in the picture above.

    The Kaleta’s of the hockey world – should have to sit the minimum games of the player they injured. Plus 5 more, for good measure. Then add on from there for the 2nd and 3rd offense.

    Without pay.

    If a player knew he truly could be ejected from the game for life, he wouldn’t make the dirty hits a part of his game.

  48. If both were available, would you rather rent Callahan for this stretch run or take on Stewart for this one and next at > $4MM? Just needing something, anything, on next year’s roster to show for Callahan is a terrible approach.

  49. Sioux, in theory it makes a ton of sense, but then you’d get into the gamesmanship issues. What if Crosby checks Carcillo near the boards in Game 1? Don’t you want Carcillo to go down with a technically unproveable concussion and take Crosby out?

  50. Well if Cally walks for nothing it’s Cally for the stretch and most likely UFA signing at > Stewart’s cap hit for next year+.

  51. They should at least establish minimum hit from behind/head shot suspensions (ex. 5 for hit near boards, 10 for elbows/shoulders to head, etc.). That doesn’t eliminate the “was the head the initial point of contact issue”, but it’s a start.

  52. Who else can you get for Callahan though? Would you settle for just a draft pick/s

    Not the greatest comparison, but a lot of people thought the same aboot Carter. Granted he’s a way better player than Stewart, but he’s gotten his act together. A change of scenery can do him good.

    I’d be willing to take the chance. As opposed to losing him for nothing. But, like I asked, who else can you get for him?

  53. Kaleta this and Kaleta that… Did everyone over the Olympic Break forget that we have a BIG piece of Kaleta on our team named Carcillo?

  54. Didn’t Paul Gaustad fetch a first round draft pick as a rental when he got traded to NSH? Granted he signed for a much better price and term relative to his worth than Callahan seemingly wants to sign for, but if Gaustad can fetch a first round pick, why can’t Cally?

  55. lol + lol =

    @BuffNewsVogl

    John Scott will play defense tonight for Sabres, who will give Olympian Henrik Tallinder a day off. Zenon Konopka scratched up front.

  56. A lot of people thought Carcillo would be a “subtraction by addition” player, he’s proved to be quite the opposite so far

  57. CARP, even with your minimal understanding of the profound differences between by/from, surely you can turn out a higher quality article than that dog’s breakfast post.

  58. NYR gave up two 2nd round picks and a 3rd round pick for Clowe last year. That turned out well (s)

    I wonder if any playoff team would do the same for Callahan, maybe even a 1st rounder.

    That wouldn’t help the playoff run though. And with Gordie Clark’s track record, probably another bust.

  59. Iginla also was traded for a 1st and two mediocre prospects. So, a 1st for Callahan is not an unreasonable expectation.

  60. ilb, late getting to this, but agree that the large sheet makes for a far better game. The players outgrew the NHL rinks long ago, and while it would be tough to retrofit stadiums, it would not be impossible — I think the NHL simply likes its product the way it is and sees no threat from the international game. It has the money and the power and the fan base in thrall to its more violent aspects, in particular the staged fights. You have to have played hockey, I believe, to truly appreciate the beauty, speed and stick-and-skate technique of the bigger game, over and above the hitting that’s still part of it, and not enough fans have actually played. We’re stuck with its pro-wrestling aspects in the short term, or at least I am, but perhaps the international game will grow and put pressure on it. Not holding my breath.

  61. Thanx, Manny. And some good, thoughtful posts from the bones.

    Avoidable head-hits OUT! Major, major fines for head hits and staged fights. Let the players explain to their wives why they have to come up with $150,000+ two or three times a season. Their only answer would be that they are reckless or admit they are devoid of the necessary talent to play in the NHL without cheating.

    Pads too hard, especially elbows.

    The more ‘protection’ around the head seems to lead to higher sticks.

    2 line pass adds excitement.

  62. ilb, Girardi is odd because it really seems like they are only 1 year and barely $500k apart. I still expect that deal to get done.

  63. I’m really, really happy when you guys disagree with me! That’s the point!

    Home Alone rules. I’m having an insane day. Miss you guys. xo. *Metal*

  64. Average NHL player size:

    Year 69-70 5-11 184
    Year 99-00 6-1 199
    Year 2013 6-2 203.5

    Rink size change? Nada. It’s all money, not only it would take too much to retrofit the rink size, they’d lose a good amount of seats. Not happening.

  65. Definitely take a 1st over Stewart, especially considering the logic that St. Louis most likely can’t get a 1st for Stewart. Just better value, even if it doesn’t help this year.

  66. Love love love today’s post.

    Equipment is definitely a factor. It’s no longer there to just protect the player, it’s also being used as a weapon. I do think they should go back to the softer shoulder / elbow pads instead of the current hard plastic cap stuff that is manufactured today. I think there has to be a fine line between offering protection for the body during game play versus making a player feel invincible and launching themselves into another player.

    I also thing that the face the boards draw a penalty crap has got to stop. Since the play is bang-bang, it will be tough for the ref to NOT call the penalty on the hitter. Instead, let the league fine players for consistently put themselves in harms way to draw a penalty. If you are a repeat offender of “quick face the boards before I get hit”, you get a SUBSTANTIAL fine. I think the only way to eliminate these “I dont protect myself” is to fine them for being stupid. (I’m probably in the minority on this one, but it’s not like the old days when players REALLY got boarded. Nowadays too many players are trying to draw a penalty by goading the player into hitting them illegally)

  67. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Rod Seiling, Rod Sterling, and Ron Darling for Band on the Run, Band of Bruthas, and The Band Played On

    Ball of confusion, that’s what the world is today. Hey Hey.

  68. I also agree that a larger sheet of ice would be great – but that would dig into profits as seating would need to be removed to accommodate the extra rink width/size. The players today are much bigger and faster than they were even 20 years ago, and that is a small amount of real-estate for guys who are (guessing here) averaging 6’1 210 lbs.

  69. Clete and Ken Boyer throw im a Foyer Bench for Johnny Bench, Benchamin Franklin and a pair of old cletes.

  70. I was talking to an Eskimo,
    Said he was hopping for a fall of snow,
    When up popped a sea lion ready to go.

  71. Depends where in the 1st round that picks is. If it’s a top 5 or maybe top 10 then it could be worth it, since you’d probably get a player that could contribute as soon as next season.

    Outside of that you’re punting away that spot in the lineup (granted that player could turn into something valuable down the road) and/or filling it in with a contract that could itself become an albatross or diminishing returns if you go the UFA route.

  72. In keeping with current societal attitudes, EVERYONE should be allowed to play simultaneously. 2 goalies per team, and 42 total skaters.

  73. LMGO at John Scott playing Defense.

    *Sioux* : Patrick Kaleta is in the AHL *reforming* his dirty game.

  74. When I was reading that book that *coos* forced on us all, _Don’t call me Goon_ a thing that really stood out was the size of the enforcers. In the 1920’s they were 5’8″, 160lbs. Then in the 60’s they hit almost 6’0″, 185. Then along came *Stu Grimson* (ex Hartford Whaler) and man did the size start to increase.

    Hockey players used to be smaller than me. So weird.

  75. @AGrossRecord: As for renewed trade speculation, Cally repeats he wants to help #NYR win, remain with the team but he can only “control what I can control”

    ****

    He could control not wanting to get paid like a franchise cornerstone player.

  76. I think, ilb, it is also another aspect to rink size – bigger surface demands more consumed energy and efforts from all players to cover, hence, could lead to changing shifts TOI and in general “fatigue factor”, considering already intense amount of games for teams in NHL, PO included, which could shift balance of physicality in a long run and ultimately even change approach to pre-season camps.(Physical preparedness, anyone…)
    But it is just my quick thought, maybe it’s not too relevant…

  77. Carp I think Mess could have been 5’10 170 lbs and would have played with the testicular fortitude to be called Moose..

  78. Average NHL player size:

    Year 69-70 5-11 184
    Year 99-00 6-1 199
    Year 2013 6-2 203.5

    Average NHL player size (excluding Brodeur):

    Year 69-70 5-11 184
    Year 99-00 6-1 170
    Year 2013 6-2 185

  79. Stranger Nation on

    Year 99-00 6-1 199
    Year 2013 6-2 203.5

    Not sure what this tells us – seems pretty consistent

  80. Manu – you have to read the email I sent you.

    Mind you it’s from an 8th test brought home from my little girl.

    But the extra point question made my year :)

  81. Stranger Nation on

    Fiona Apple, Eve Plumb, Jack Lemon, and Darryl Strawberry for Carrot Top, Julius Peppers, and Mr. Potato Head

  82. Stranger Nation on

    Be curious to see what the averages are in other major sports – my guess the changes would be similar if not greater increases.

  83. Jack Snow, Garth Snow, Jack Frost. … I can’t keep up.

    How exactly does height matter when we’re talking about rink dimensions? And how does five or 10 pounds factor in? It’s the size of a small cat.

  84. Gee, this rink is too small. We can’t fit this small cat out there.

    Seriously, if space is the problem, get rid of a ref.

  85. I just saw Ted Nugent being interviewed on CNN about how he needs to be more civil to people with differing viewopoints.

  86. Ice T (and his wife Coco) live in my building. He didn’t mention getting traded to me. I’m going to ask tonight.

  87. Frank Gorshin! Never forget when he ran a Manhattan parking garage and when he couldn’t rip off Felix and Oscar, said: “Yiz’ll be back. Yiz’ll be back, crawling on your hands and knees just like my mother did.”

  88. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    The other thing I meant to add earlier is there should be a penalty for turning into the boards by a player to draw a penalty. It should mirror the penalty given to the hit from behind player

    Much like the tripping and embellishment mutual penalty.

  89. Turns out I’ve been hornswoggled on the rink issue. The rink expansion issue turns out to be bunkum. And, no, it’s not only that I wanted to use those two words.

    The only issue is width — the rink lengths are the same. You could easily add significant width, if not the full Olympic amount, and not lose that much revenue, which comes out of the luxury boxes anyway.

    It’s not rocket science — they just want to do it.

  90. 200 is the standard, Sochi and elsewhere. Center ice is longer. Blue line to goal-line much shorter. It’s all about the width.

  91. I think “six feet wide” has been codified into a measure of width known as a “Brodeur”

    So you’re looking at about two Brodeurs.

  92. I must be reading the wrong info. This is from “Olympic Hockey versus NHL Hockey on Google:
    The Ice Size:
    A standard rink in North America is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide, with goal lines 11 feet from the end boards.
    In most European venues, the ice is 210 feet long and 98 feet wide. Goal lines are 13 feet from the end boards. The extra room can sometimes lead a team to play a more passive “positional” defense, angling attackers away from the goal rather than pursuing the puck carrier.

  93. “I just bought a new fishing boat! It’s a 42 footer but it’s actual measurements are 38’L x 2 Broduers”

  94. I’ll see your Google and raise you a Wiki:
    Hockey rinks in most of the world follow the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) specifications, which is 61 metres (200 ft) × 30.5 metres (100 ft) with a corner radius of 8.5 metres (28 ft). The distance from the end boards to the nearest goal line is 4 metres (13 ft). The distance from each goal line to the nearest blue line is 17.3 metres (57 ft). The distance between the two blue lines is also 17.3 metres (57 ft).

    And when I say ‘metres’ I mean ‘metres’.

  95. Can you translate those width measurements into Brodeur’s please?

    _I’ll see your Google and raise you a Wiki:
    Hockey rinks in most of the world follow the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) specifications, which is 61 metres (200 ft) × 30.5 metres (16.67 Broduers) with a corner radius of 8.5 metres (28 ft). The distance from the end boards to the nearest goal line is 4 metres (13 ft). The distance from each goal line to the nearest blue line is 17.3 metres (57 ft). The distance between the two blue lines is also 17.3 metres (57 ft)._

  96. I’ve attended countless musical offerings at Caramoor, but you could probably care less. Last summer, someone else drove, so I was carless.

  97. Fine. It can be cubic. It was just an initial joke. You guys are obviously building on it very well.

  98. I could literally care less, but I figuratively couldn’t care less, which leaves my crying for more.

  99. Latrell Sprewell: “I should have finished you off when I had the chance.”

    Coach: “I could Carelessimo.”

  100. eddie eddie eddie on

    Brodeur, Bro-mance, and Bromide for The Chemical Brothers, Freddy Mercury, and “get your hands off me Copper”

  101. eddie eddie eddie on

    George Bush, Grant Clitsome, and Leave it to Beaver for Babcock, Hitchcock, jimmy Johnson, and Wang

  102. eddie eddie eddie on

    John Lennon, jack lemmon and vladamir Lenin for Cindy Crosby, Bing Crosby, and Bill Cosby,

  103. Carp, but now we are talking about extra 11 small cats on the ice. Imagine how much cooke would that produce? Talk about tripping over a grasshopper on breakaway….

  104. If yiz can’t grow the Rink then shrink the players.

    No players over 5’9″ 165 lbs, size 8 skate allowed.

    *Tiny Archibald, Might Mouse, Andy Petit and Little Richard for Andre the Giant, Butterbean Esch, Mama Cass and Byfuglin.*

  105. eddie eddie eddie on

    Candyman, Candyland, and John Candy for Jackie Kennedy, Jackie Gleason, and Jackie the jokeman

  106. eddie eddie eddie on

    Henry james, William james, and LeBron James for Barney Frank, Ann Frank, and Can I be Frank (with you?)

  107. I knew Jack Kennedy, I drank with with Jack Kennedy , Jack Kennedy and I hit the strip clubs in Vegas together, I played in a foresome with Jack Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Kim Novak……..

  108. eddie eddie eddie on

    Robert Frost, Mr. Freeze, and Cold, Rain, and Snow for Summer Sanders, The Heat of the night, and Burning down the house

  109. eddie eddie eddie on

    Yesterday, Monday Monday, Wednesday Adams,and Tuesday Weld for January Jones, Fredrick March, June Cleaver

  110. Ted Kennedy to his son and Michael Kennedy Smith at 4AM. “What say we go out and get ourselves a nightcap?”

  111. If Tuesday Weld married Frederick March III, she’d be Tuesday March the Third.

    sorry, I’m wearing that one out.

  112. Ted’s wife: “What’s this I’m reading the the papers?”

    Teddy: “Forget about it, it’s all bullchit.”

  113. eddie eddie eddie on

    Anne Meara, Mark O’Meara, and mirrah mirrah on the wall for Cinderella, GoodFellas, Bob Feller

  114. Doodie Machetto on

    Anyone know anything about Duclair? Is he legit or just another Christian Thomas/Evgeny Grachev?

  115. eddie eddie eddie on

    doodie – people that know him swear by him…he needs to bulk up and fill out…rumors about being a headcase are untrue…great hands…drives hard to the net, great skater…

  116. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Seems like this roster puts more than 11 cats on the ice every game…

    Oh you guys actually mean “cats” ;)

  117. Shirley Temple, Shirley Jones and Shirley U Mustbekiddenme for Knute Rockne, Free Willie and Miss Vicky

  118. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    I think I’d trade Staal before girardi for a couple of reasons…

    Staal breaks down more than girardi and it’s easier to replace a lefty than a righty.

  119. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    I think team names should stay with their original cities like the browns did…

    Baltimore should still be the colts, not the browns and Indy should be the 500s or something!

  120. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Carp
    I don’t disagree, I would just move him before the next serious injury (hopefully never) happens.

  121. Just drove by a guy in a truck who was smoking away, and had three back window stickers: Mets, Rangers, and NY Giants. Talk about short life expectancy.

  122. If “Brodeur” was a unit of measurement that measured Volume how much volume would it measure? #AskBrodeur

  123. If you had a sandwich named after you how much would it cost considering an extra serving of meat was $1.50 per serving, per type of meat? #AskBroduer

  124. Great write up, Manny, I especially like the idea of women’s hockey with it’s (hands to the chest!) checking mentality. I believe the technical term for Lidstrom’s play was called tune in Tokyo.

  125. so on the bigger ice, the most skilled hockey players in the world managed to score a total of 4 goals in the 2 semi final games. Price and Hank had 6 shutouts between them, and team Canada gave up 3 goals the entire olympics.
    which was the more exciting olympic hockey tournament, 2010 in Vancouver on the NHL ice, or 2014 on the big ice?

  126. today is the 35th anniversary of potvin’s hit on ulfie,possibly costing us a cup..possibly not,because the habs were ungodly good

  127. Thanks El Duderino (I’m not into that whole brevity thing)

    I like how Women’s Hockey and Hands to the Chest got into that post. Epic.

  128. When Ulf was out, I saw him in a Scarsdale Deli and though he played as a lightweight, he must have been 250 plus.

  129. emj2348
    today is the 35th anniversary of potvin’s hit on ulfie,possibly costing us a cup..possibly not,because the habs were ungodly good

    February 25th, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    …and the day my dad’s hate became real for the Islanders.

    As far as the ice dimensions, Biron was quoted at the end of the Olympics for saying the larger rinks didn’t favor the modern style and speed of play and that it would make scoring more difficult and we wouldn’t have the pace that there is in today’s NHL. He thought it was a misconception that the larger surface would give these players more room to make plays.

    @@

  130. Someone mentioned earlier that they are more worried about the Girardi situation than the Callahan one. I couldnt agree more.

    If we lose Girardi we are in terrible shape.

    Did you guys read the Daily News article with Cally’s agent saying the 6.5-7 million per year is a discount to what will be on the market? Whatever he’s smoking i would love to have some. Unless of course Callahan has no issue playing for a bottom team another 7 years.

  131. Think it was ilb, Lev, and I agree with both of you … but I also think they will get a deal done with Girardi. … and almost surely trade Callahan.

  132. I wonder if this situation with Cally, and Girardi is more of an opportunity for the Rangers to change there team for the better. a stretch I know, but, if you Can turn Cally into Stewart, and Rattie. Girardi into Vatanen and Etem. are you better in the long run? I think so.

  133. The reason I’m worried about Girardi is because his asking price, as reported by many, shouldn’t be a big issue. It’ll take them more money and years to get someone who’s worse than Girardi.

  134. McDonagh moves to the right side, plays with Staal as your top pair.
    also, I have heard about how great Girardi is here for a long time. yet you don’t think if is traded he doesn’t have value. i’m a little confused there.

  135. That’s too much for a rental, has nothing to do with him being great.

    McD moving to the R is far from optimal. There is a reason everyone in NHL talks about R handed D-man. But even if that happened, you still need to resign Stralman and find someone who can play second pair minutes on left side. How much does a 2nd pair d-man cost these days?

    Here is a list of D-men who will become UFAs. Look at their age and salaries.

  136. Piccadilly Circus, Pickled Olives and Olive Oyl for Farrah Fawcett, Tish Toilet and Pinky Tuscadero

  137. why does it have to be a free agent? why not a trade, or someone in the system, say Connor Allen.

  138. Manny, thanks for a well done article, strong work indeed.

    The Two line pass coming back would be brutal.

  139. ilb,
    you left out Vatanen. and don’t think for a second that Klein was not insurance for Girardi.

  140. Thanks C-Dubs. I can’t come close
    To living up to the big guy around here.

    This Callahan situation is unreal. His agent claims what he’s asking for a discount?

  141. No, not at all, Bull Dog. I get it would slow the pace for safety’s sake but I really like the flow that not having the two line pass allows. Like Manny said, I always turned them off, made for a better game.

  142. If Klein is here to replace Girardi then Callahan might as well stay because we will be that bottom 5 team that will eventually give him that contract.

  143. I dont have a problem with Callahan wanting to earn every last cent that he could because like all UFA he’s earned that right. But cut the crap about this being the place you want to be yada yada yada.

  144. Cally 7 yrs close 7 mil. Thanks for the memories. I agree with carp first few years miss him last 4 no thanks

  145. Carp, could Cally’s desire to leave be related to Torts’ rather surprising dismissal by Sather? I remember you suggesting that Cally was one of the insubordinates that might have been partially responsible. I find that hard to swallow.

    This seems less about the actual term of contract and more about Cally desire to be moving on to somewhere else. You don’t trade players like Callahan. You sign them and overpay them. Usually, if they don’t want to sign, they want to play somewhere else.

    Let’s not forget that Torts was instrumental in transforming Callahan into the player he is today.

  146. Cindy Crosby Crybaby Still(s) Rich Nash Neil Young…..Wendel young, yea I know it’s bad….just make a Trade already so we can all freak out!

  147. “Cally rather obviously wants out.”

    Yup. Question to debate is why. My guess? He’s not a fan of his role here or AV.

  148. Stranger Nation on

    Al Jefferson, Hot Rod Lincoln, and Earl Monroe for Roosevelt Booie, Trot Nixon and Homer Bush.

  149. Garthe Butcher, Steven Baker, Candlestick park, Makers Mark for JP Parise, TJ Oshie, MSG and JD…..I suck at this trade somebody much better at critiquing all inept parties

  150. Stranger Nation on

    Ex3 – Darlene Love on Colbert Report repeat from last night on now (East Coast) singing “Hes a rebel”

  151. _I dont have a problem with Callahan wanting to earn every last cent that he could because like all UFA he’s earned that right. But cut the crap about this being the place you want to be yada yada yada._

    I don’t see why these have to be mutually exclusive. NY was the place Jeter wanted to be, NY offered Jeter a massive contract. Not comparing the players, just saying you shouldn’t need to take a discount to play for your preferred team.

  152. Mister D,
    you can bet that if there were no salary cap. Sather would do whatever it took to keep Cally. in MLB, there is no salary cap. the Yankees could, and did, give Jeter whatever he wanted. this is what the salary cap was designed for. to hurt the big market teams.

  153. funny you say that about Vancouver, Stranger. supposedly everybody, with the exceptions of the twins is available from Vancouver.

  154. Right, but the rangers aren’t capped out. If they don’t go to open market on Cally, it’s choice, not because they’re handcuffed. Onus can’t be on the player to agree to management valuation just to prove he wants to stay.

  155. Stranger Nation on

    Bull Dog – are the twins UFAs? thought they were and too lazy to look up on iPads.

    Escape from Tort(ure) and Sullied

  156. Mister D,
    giving Cally the contract he is asking for would be irresponsible. if he is traded it is on him.

  157. Stranger Nation on

    Definitely appreciate Cally’s need to maximize his earning potential, but do not feel $7MM per year is good value for Blueshirts

  158. C’mon. It’s Callahan’s responsibility to determine his own conservative estimate cap hit and give that to the team that handed Richards stupid money?

  159. no its not for Cally to decide his value to the Rangers. that the Rangers job. and because they made a mistake with the Richards contract they should repeat the mistake with Cally?

  160. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    SNation – saw Darlene on Colbert last night. Love her and He’s a Rebel. Spector at his best…

  161. Ryan Moneyman! Former Captain of the New York Ranguh’s!

    Hell, Carmelo Anthony is willing to take a “discount” to stay with the Knickerbockers, and he’s actually a game breaker.

    Cally, not so much.

    Bye, Cappy! Bring in Stewart, and lets move on!

  162. the Richards contract has nothing to do with Cally’s situation.
    if buffalo resigns miller
    then should Cally want a contract similar to his if he goes UFA.

    Richards got his contract because he was one of the ONLY MAJOR UFAs that year and circumstances around the Rangers found it needing another offensive presence, Torts LOVED the guy and Slats was bidding against 2 or 3 other teams.

    Cally can want the moon and Slats can want to pay him something in the range of the earth’s core
    but
    at some point
    they need to meet up with Bilbo and
    in Middle Earth

  163. ConcernedAboutConcussions on

    A “concussion” is a subjective interpretation of symptoms — not an objective, quantifiable condition that’s consistently perceived across the medical field. We must focus energy and resources on preventing brain slosh and the associated damage and disease.

Leave A Reply

Protected with IP Blacklist CloudIP Blacklist Cloud