Thursday, 9 June 2011
Bring Hockey into the 21st Century
I heard on the radio that Gary Bettman has made it clear, “hits to the head are a part of hockey and that will not change”. So I guess that means that a half second sooner the Rome hit would be part of the NHL promo video. I grew up on hits like that and celebrated when my guy made their guy pick himself off the ice and skate like a drunken duck. However like many stupid things that were commonplace in my youth it’s time to move forward. First let’s adopt all of Don Cherry’s suggestions for changing equipment and playing area to make it safer. Second any hit to the head with any part of the arm south of the shoulder is an automatic penalty just like a high stick. Third any hit that causes a player to hit their head on the glass or boards is an automatic penalty. To decide upon suspensions and fines, the degree of recklessness and prior offences should be the overriding consideration. For example Horton was not reckless, Chara was. Finally let’s bring refereeing into the 21st century. Get rid of the second referee, there is not enough ice as there is and he is just in the way. Viewers look at the replays and vote if a penalty should be assigned on a play. No seriously a panel of retired referees looks at live video and can make a call from the bunker. This would give the message there is no more cheap shots allowed. Players could be suspended for accumulating too many after the whistle face washing etc. The suspension body should consist of three ex-players, majority vote wins.