Maybe it's because of all the discussion of fighting and fighting-related injuries early this season, or maybe it's something that was going to happen at some point regardless, but a lawsuit was filed yesterday against the NHL regarding concussions and player safety. Ten former NHL players, including one named Morris Titanic who played a staggering 19 games in the 70's, filed a lawsuit alleging the NHL didn't do enough to prevent head trauma to players.
I have to say, I kind of wonder about this. I mean, I played rugby at university, and by so doing managed to get myself knocked out a couple of times. But I always just assumed that was my fault. I was playing rugby after all. Giant, drunk pugilists were trying to tackle me. Of course I was going to get concussions.
But I can kind of get it. Professional athletes these days do have an enormous amount of pressure on them to perform, and so, if possible will play on well past the point of safety. They are essentially the Roman gladiators of the modern era, and you can be certain if there had been a gladiator's union back in the day they'd have been filing lawsuits left and right.
The following is an excerpt from the law firm representing the players, summarizing part of the official complaint:
"In 2004 the NHL introduced a series of updates to the rule-set to encourage a faster, more exciting, and ultimately more marketable product. As a result, the number of violent in-game collisions and occurrence of head trauma have increased. When coupled with the NHL's refusal to protect players by banning full-body checking or penalizing on-ice fist fights, the league has created a dangerous atmosphere for players." [Puck Daddy]
Did you know Anaheim had a five game losing streak not so long ago? I missed that somehow. Maybe because during the 8-0-1 stretch that preceded it I began avoiding all talk of the Ducks, shouting 'It's not fair!' every time they would be mentioned, along with the other twelfty million teams in the Western Conference who are awesome this season.
Which is why the Stars are back at 12th place in the Conference. However, the Stars have played the fewest number of games in the league, and have had the most road heavy schedule thus far. Which naturally means a rapid rise from 12th in the West to the top of the standings is virtually ensured.
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Yesterday's practice notes, from Mike Heika. [Sports Day DFW]
Rich Peverley has been playing kinda sorta not bad at all really. No one's going to start referring to it as the 'Peverley-Eriksson' trade, but nevertheless, he's proving his value over and over again. [The Hockey Writers]
Just in case you forget that hockey is a business, there's this article. And just in case you have no interest in clicking on a link to Forbes, the article begins like this: "The NHL is scoring off the ice like never before." Fist bump to the NHL. [Forbes]
A wild one between the Penguins and Bruins in Boston last night, but if you looked at the scoresheet you could be forgiven for thinking it was a Dallas alumni match. Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, and James Neal all had goals, and Jussi Jokinen and Matt Niskanen both had assists. [NHL.com]
Your fancy stats link of the day, evaluating defensive performances over the first quarter of the season. [Pension Plan Puppets]
I don't know why this cracks me up, but it does. Daniel Sedin takes a high stick to the face and loses a tooth, but the refs have no interest in calling a double-minor. He should file a lawsuit. The league's obviously not doing enough to protect the dental health of players. [Puck Daddy]
The Weekend Wrap, from Down Goes Brown. [Grantland]
And lastly, would some Dallas Stars player please start practicing this shootout move?