The NHL Of Today: How To Prevent Unnecessary Injuries (Part 2)

Lane GriffithContributor IJanuary 20, 2009

This is my second time around with this article, and it seemed to get a response the first time, so here we go again.

To fill everyone in, this article is going to be one of many to come on the topic of head injuries.  In addition, future articles will also cover unjustified dirty hits causing not only head injuries, but other serious injuries as well.

A few of my readers stated a very well thought out idea and possible solution for our current problem in the NHL. One solution could be the rule that the "old NHL" used to have—when a player could wrap his arm around another player for a few seconds.  If too long, then would it be called a penalty for holding. These new obstruction penalties that are now in place aren't necessarily good for preventing injuries.

When you put your arms around a player while hitting him into the boards, he isn't very likely to lose his balance. The hit would be supported by the hold. Therefore, you decrease the injuries that happen.

Another solution—not likely to be brought into the NHL anytime soon—would be to start hiring UFC fighters to take out players who try to hurt your star players.  In addition, they would take out those players that take shots at your goalies. The NHL isn't some world out of a fairy tale book—it's real life. The idea isn't a realistic one, but wouldn't it be nice?

You don't see as many stick incidents today in our game, but there are too many other ways to effectively hurt someone, especially when skating on a bed of hard ice. Maybe players should have pillows tied all around them. But, again, not a realistic solution.

So, back to square one. What can we do to prevent unjustified acts resulting in our players getting hurt?

I believe it all goes back to allowing a two or three second hold on a player fighting for the puck. I would like to thank one of my readers for this comment, for it is a critical move that the NHL might have to make. And soon.

The NHL should enforce a rule that allows a slight hold on an opposing player while fighting for the puck. When a player takes one hand off his stick to wrap the other player up, he will effectively take the other player off the puck, but both players will remain on their skates. Allowing the players to hold within three feet of the boards could reduce the risks.

Once the hit is made and the hold is released, the fight for the puck can continue. If the hold stays in place too long, as my reader stated, the ref could call a penalty. One, two, or three seconds could be the difference between a nice battle for the puck or a serious injury.

Thanks for reading and keep your comments and suggestions coming. I am always open for them.