You have to be at least a little bit crazy to be a hockey player and maybe professionally insane to be a professional hockey player.
From blocking shots to the very real risk of getting a wooden stick to the face to hitting and being hit, there are plenty of ways to experience the painful sides of the sport. Really, what other sport rewards you for bleeding like hockey does? (A high sticking penalty can become a double minor if it draws the red stuff.)
So telling hockey players to worry about their safety is akin to scolding Matt Hoffman for ignoring the reality of gravity. Sure, they’re paid to score goals and skate like the wind, but part of that paycheck comes with the understanding that their bodies won’t be the same after every season.
Yet there are ways to make the dangerous sport at least a bit less life-threatening. Curbing hits to the head is one measure the league is striving to reduce. One debate that tends to crop up when someone suffers a scary facial or eye injury is whether or not the league/NHL players association should force its athletes to wear visors. With that in mind, we asked PHT readers if they thought that all players should face a mandate to don them, if incoming players should be forced to wear them while current players would be “grandfathered in” or if the status quo of players making their own choice should remain in place. Here are the poll results.
(click to enlarge)
It might look like the voting results are pretty close, but there are two variations on the affirmative, splitting the votes a bit. So really, more than two-thirds of PHT readers want NHL players to be required to wear visors in some way while less than one-third would prefer it to stay the same.
Personally, I prefer the “Yes, but let current players be grandfathered in” option, but can live with the status quo. If hockey players want to take huge risks with their eyesight, that’s their choice. After all, they’re not very shy about taking bold risks in general.
Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing
The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?
Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.
Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.
A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:
Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”
He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.
Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.
"I don't think the Kings look at Doughty differently…Muzzin to back down from that fight on 1st shift is an embarrassment." – Keith Jones https://t.co/KI9dx8Rirx
For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.
Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.
OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.
It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.
Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.
In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.
It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.
The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?
“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”