Concussions and controversial hits have faded into the background thanks to the lockout, but head injuries are still a major concern and storyline in modern sports.
Filmmaker Steve James (of “Hoop Dreams” fame) decided to tackle the issue of concussions in his 2011 documentary “Head Games,” which includes prominent appearances from Brendan Shanahan and Keith Primeau.*
The documentary leans heaviest toward the NFL and football in general, but the NHL’s issues – and measures to make changes – also surface frequently. Some of the clips and photos might bring back some tough memories, as the movie shows memorable checks such as Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty and also discusses the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Bob Probert.
Yet even though James’ documentary brings up some difficult questions for hockey and sports in general, James told NHL.com that the league has been progressive in many areas.
“I do think all the sports have a ways to go in terms of how they handle rules and discussions around concussions, but the NHL has certainly been more forward-thinking on this issue than football,” James said.
” … I think the fact that Brendan Shanahan has taken that role and taken it very seriously is a very positive thing. Daly was obvious and candid about the League’s view [in the film]. He basically said there is going to be brain injuries, no way around it. I think it was great he was willing to state it.”
You can read a little more about it – including Primeau’s emotional presence in the film – in NHL.com’s article or check out the movie via various outlets. (It’s on Netflix Instant Queue, for instance.)
* -You might not be as excited to see Bill Daly thanks to his prominence in the CBA discussions, but he makes a cameo, too.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau had two goals while 2013 draft prospects Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin each had a goal and three assists to lead the QMJHL stars over Russia in Game 2 of the Subway Super Series. (CBC Sports)
Meanwhile, the Karjala Tournament is underway in Europe and Finland surprised Russia with a shootout win thanks to Pekka Rinne. (RT.com)
Tyler Seguin is feeling better about where the lockout is headed. Keep in mind he was 11 or 12 years-old during the last one. (CSNNE.com)
Just so Seguin isn’t out on a limb, Jets captain Andrew Ladd is hopeful as well. (Winnipeg Sun)
Keith Primeau has a new book on the way discussing concussions. (Montreal Gazette)
A Soo Greyhounds player gets hit with a 15-game suspension for a check to the head. Punishing shots to the head severely? What a novel approach! (Globe And Mail)
Mirtle with a great look at Adam Oates cementing his legacy in the Hall of Fame. (Globe And Mail)
Keith Primeau — 14-year NHLer and outspoken advocate for concussion prevention — is praising Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby for displaying courage and foresight in the face of his latest concussion setback.
“Crosby is an ambassador for people who have brain injuries and who have endured head trauma,” Primeau told the Tribune-Review. “People are looking up to his courage as we speak.”
Primeau was forced into retirement at age 34 after suffering a series of concussions (four of them documented). Now 39, Primeau still struggles daily with the after-effects — he told the Canadian Press in November that exertion and exercise makes him lightheaded.
As such, Primeau is now the driving force behind stopconcussions.com, a website he co-founded. It’s designed to heighten awareness about baseline testing, post-concussion syndrome, CTE and more.
In speaking about Crosby, Primeau appreciated the patience and caution shown by No. 87 when he didn’t feel well following Monday’s loss to Boston. Professional athletes don’t always put their health first, according to Primeau.
“For me and my quest, seeing Sidney do the right thing is special,” he said. “The culture we’re brought up in with the hockey world just tells us to play through injuries. That may seem like courage, but it really isn’t.
“This is an injury that can be debilitating. The fact is, Sidney had the courage to speak up when something wasn’t right. Good for him. Maybe people don’t realize it, but that’s a true sign of courage. It really is.”