Sometimes when former pro athletes are hired as analysts they have a tendency to go easy on the players. NBC (that’s us!) analyst Jeremy Roenick doesn’t seem to have that bias.
In a blog for NHL.com on the subject of concussions, Roenick singled out a handful of current players for their dangerous hits, and didn’t exactly mince his words in the process.
We can no longer ignore the stupidity of the hits that are still happening today despite the fact that the players know the concussion aspect is such a big part of the game and sports in general.
You saw Chris Stewart get suspended for hitting Niklas Kronwall from behind. You saw Andy Sutton get suspended for jumping in the air — a 6-foot-6 and 240-pound defenseman jumping in the air — to hit Alexei Ponikarovsky. These hits are absolutely unnecessary and the stupidity is beyond belief.
Brendan Shanahan probably never thought he would be so busy doling out suspensions because of the lack of intelligence of so many players in very dangerous situations.
We hear about the respect factor all the time in hockey. If you ask most former players, they’ll say today’s players don’t respect each other like they used to. Whether or not that’s true is debatable. Older generations frequently believe things were better back in the day.
But if it is true, the question becomes, why was there more respect before? What was the mentality of the players? Was there more peer pressure to keep each other honest? Did the older guys take the younger guys aside and say stuff like, “Hey, we’re all in this together. Cool it out there”?
Maybe that’s something the NHLPA needs to explore.