The Flames Update is a compilation of notes, quotes, anecdotes, audio and video that keeps you in touch with your team. It appears several times each week, usually on non-game days.
| March 12, 2010 |
|Talking headshots |
At the recent NHL General Managers meetings, the biggest topic faced by everyone involved was headshots. The issue has taken a whole new light in the 2009-10 season with several players being knocked out of action with severe head injuries from seemingly clean hits. Earlier this week, Flames general manager Darryl Sutter spoke with NHL.com about blindside hits, noting that while the topic is hard to come to consensus on, there needs to be some kind of clear ruling on hits to the head.
"Elbows to the head aren't a part of the NHL - if it happens, you're suspended. It's not illegal for a shoulder to hit part of the body, but if it's a guy 6-foot-6, whose shoulder hits someone 5-6, is that illegal? These are the areas we're trying to clear up here. It's not black and white and it's not easy."
Ian White would like to see some decisive rules in place but does understand that the whole issue sits in a grey area.
"That's always a touchy subject. You don't want to see those kinds of hits and you don't want to see guys getting hurt. I believe if you take a shoulder to the head - and it's just the head, you don't get the body or anything - I would think that's dirty.
"But some guy's skating around with his head down and you're going straight at him and you maybe knock his head before you get his chest, I think that'd be more acceptable. But some of those hits that you've been seeing lately ... I would think it'd be smart for them to change something about the rule."
It will be nearly impossible to completely irradicate the game of such hits as many of them are legal but White thinks that with disiciplinary strategies in place, players may think more about running at another player who may be in risky position.
"I'm not sure if your ever going to take anything out completely. The game is so fast and reaction times are in the split seconds but the onus is on the player to have the respect for the other player. If he's in a vunerable position, you've got to let off."
Curtis Glencross is completely in favour the NHL coming up with a decisive way to deal with headshots.
"I think it's something that has to be done," he said on Thursday morning. "I was guilty myself once this year and it was an accidental play but at the same time, we've got to look out for each other. We're all in the same business together and you don't like to see a guy go down and get hurt. As players, we've got to be more responsible and watch over each other."
Glencross was handed a three-game suspension early in the season after hitting New York Rangers captain Chris Drury with what the NHL deemed as a blindside hit to the head. While he maintains that there was no intent to injure Drury on the play, he still believes players need to accept responsibility on hits that are accidental.
"It's just an awkward situation on my incident with Chris Drury," Glencross said of the hit. "I said that to the league when I had my meeting with them and it was just an awkward play on both parts. I was in no-mans land and he was too and I was anticipating the puck to come to where he was and it didn't come there.
"It happened. I got penalized for it. It's something where you've got to go forward, you can't let that change your game just because of it but at the same time, you've got to be a little more responsible."
"I think what's impressive is the plays that you don't see when you're playing against him: the back-checking, grinding it on the wall and making big plays that way. He's a game changer offensively but through the game he's always a big player for us in all the tough areas." - Steve Staios on Jarome Iginla.
"It's been paying the price a little more now than we have. The effort is definitely there. There's a lot of second efforts from guys getting around the net and that's where we've scored a lot goals: around the crease area. There's been times where we haven't even been able to penetrate that area but right now, guys are paying the price to get there and guys are getting rewarded for it." - Eric Nystrom on the team's recent offensive outburst.
"Everyone has an equal load. We all have responsiblities out there and if you have guys starting to play 26-27 minutes they're going to be a little more fatigued than someone whose playing 17-20 minutes so if you can spread that workload around through all six guys ... we have six very capable defensemen and everyone's a really solid defender. It's great when everyone can play even minutes." - White on the newly distributed ice time through the defense corps.