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All-Star Protest?

Posted By Mika Oehling On Jan 18 2011 @ 12:41 pm In Around The Rinks | 5 Comments

There’s been a report in the Globe and Mail that claims that Sidney Crosby, the most prominent NHL team Captain in the league, is considering no-showing the All-Star Game out of protest. Apparently, he’s upset that the two head shots which have concussed him have not resulted in penalties or suspensions. And while he was happy to be silent on the head shots rule when it was his own teammate, Matt Cooke, who almost decapitated Marc Savard, it appears that Crosby might be disappointed in the league for not protecting HIM.

While Crosby clearly doesn’t need a reason other than a legitimate medical one for missing the All-Star Game, it appears that the media would like to once again portray him as a self-centered diva who thinks the rules should be different when applied to him. It’s pretty typical of the media to want to portray concussed players as weak, whiny babies who can’t handle a hit, particularly because the NHL itself is so weak on the subject of head hits in the first place. Far be it for us, the public, to blame the NHL for their lack of clarity and disciplining on this issue. This is just like the parent who refuses to ground their children for bad behavior and just calls them ‘fussy’.

The NHL has been trying to make headway (pardon the pun) on this issue, but so far, all that’s been meted out are inconsistent punishments that often don’t fit the crime. The rule of thumb in the league appears to be 6 game suspensions, but the hits themselves range from gentle to brutal, with very little in between. To make matters worse, it hasn’t stopped the flow of hits either. Suspensions obviously mean very little to players.

The other thing that’s discrediting the league? Suspensions for miscellaneous offenses, including suckerpunches and universal hand gestures of disapproval. Players are finding other ways to make their feelings known, and as creative as they may be, they’re no less problematic for the game and it’s once family-friendly vibe.

Goaltender interference is a penalty that keeps coming up these days, and are causing more play reviews and called off goals than they deserve to. Apparently, these calls only apply to goaltenders named Brodeur and Loungo. The rest of the league seems out of luck on this front.

Are star players being given more consideration than the rest of the league? Of course. This is true because more people watch them, cheer for them and they’re more forgiving with them than the rest. Should star players be given more consideration than the rest of the league? Absolutely not. That goes counter to our ideas of basic equality and it’s an injustice, pure and simple. But the NHL will protect their assets and the star players are front of the line. Regardless, the league has to be putting in place stricter and clearer guidelines for headshots and these should be applicable across the board.

The league should also stop defending harsh hits as part of the game and crediting tough guys for taking people out. They only encourage the aggressive culture within the league that is the real source of the problem. Hockey is a tough game, granted, but it can be played cleanly and with respect. There needs to be a culture shift in the NHL to move away from making a name for oneself by beatings. Sidney is a prime example of someone who made it in the league for his beautiful game. He should be the example and not the exception.

If Sidney Crosby bows out of the All-Star Game, it shouldn’t be held against him. He is, after all, concussed. And if he does make why me statements to the press? Well, let’s give him a pass on this one too. He’s not exactly in his usual frame of mind right now.

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