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Dose of Reality #73

September 28, 2007

Hockey fans lost a great treasure this week when Jim Lorentz, the color man on Sabres broadcasts, decided to retire. Lorentz was teamed with Rick Jeanneret and the two of them were fun to listen to, even if they were somewhat biased. Lorentz was a former center in the NHL who ended his career as a Sabre. He was always well prepared for games and never got lost during his broadcasts. Enjoy your retirement, Jim.

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When will the NHL crack down on hits to the head? This week, Dean McAmmond of Ottawa received a vicious hit from Steve Downie of Philadelphia. Every hockey league in the world has a penalty for head contact, no matter how clean or incidental the contact is, except for the NHL. For example, take a look at Rule 616 in the USA Hockey Official Rules. (You’ll have to download the PDF)

A minor penalty, major penalty, or major penalty plus game misconduct … shall be assessed to any player who intentionally or recklessly contacts a player in the head …

The NFL does not allow hits to the head, so why does the NHL? And I am tired of hearing the argument that a hit to the head is acceptable as long as it is delivered cleanly, such as with the shoulder. Anyone out there who has ever played the game knows what it feels like when you get a forearm, shoulder, or stick to the head. I never cared how it was delivered, I just hated it, once my head cleared.

***UPDATE***

Downie was given a 20 game suspension today.  Details are here.

-Truth Serum

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2 comments

  1. Per your recommendation, I checked out the video of this hit. Vicious, unnecessary, and having been a victim of an (unintentional) head blow in a football game… sickening.

    I don’t know who is out there clamoring for more of this? The safety of the players should be paramount at the highest level of play, as it is (at least in this regard) at all other levels. I hate when this happens to any player, regardless of what team they play for.

    Do you see the attitudes of the powers that be changing (evolving?) on this anytime soon?


  2. There is a group out there who think that a crackdown on hits to the head will lessen body checking. I don’t see any connection of this statement to reality and will point out that in this era of the New NHL, with its emphasis on position and skating, hitting is still a major part of the game and the “new” rules did not take it away.

    As soon as a Crosby or Heatly or other star loses a major portion of their season from one of these “clean” head shots, the NHL will act.



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