Eric Lindros Clarifies Suggested Drastic Rule Change to Eliminate Body Contact

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2018

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 20:  Former NHL player Eric Lindros arrives at the 2018 NHL Awards presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Hall of Famer Eric Lindros is thinking outside of the box when it comes to trying to limit the risk of concussions posed to hockey players during the course of a game.

At a concussion symposium in London, Ontario, Lindros suggested it might be wise for leagues to consider implementing rules eliminating body contact altogether, per the National Post's Michael Traikos:

"Let's get right to it. You talk about me playing. I love hockey and I continue playing hockey. But it's funny—the hockey I was playing all those years was really physical, and I have just as much fun [these days], but we don't run into one another. We're still having as much fun, the same enjoyment of it. We know concussions are down in a league without contact."

Lindros clarified his comments with this tweet:

Lindros expressed a similar sentiment in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg in June 2017. Lindros said he was playing in a rec league with friends that didn't feature checking and deliberate body contact.

"Let's not focus on 'What a great hit!'" he said. "Let's say, What a great pass.'"

Following the release of the PBS documentary League of Denial in October 2013, the focus has largely been on the NFL and its handling of head injuries over the years. It's a problem that extends to the NHL as well.

Nick Boynton, who played from 1999 to 2011, wrote a first-person essay for the Players' Tribune in which he said he suffered eight to 10 confirmed concussions and likely more that went undocumented.

Boynton added the effects from the multiple concussions lingered after his career ended and that he "was basically drinking and self-medicating and doing drugs nonstop" before seeking out help.

Paul Montador, the father of former NHL player Steve Montador, also gave an interview to HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in which he said he thought concussions played a role in his son's death in 2015. Researchers at a Toronto neuroscience center examined Montador's brain and found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

A number of former players sued the NHL, arguing the league didn't do enough to protect players from head injuries and inform them of the long-term consequences. In July, a federal judge denied the players class-action status, which would've allowed the former players to bring the lawsuit as two collective groups.

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