Player Safety Certainly An Issue

Sidney Crosby is on fire. The haters are running out of ideas so they’ve recycled the statement that Crosby is protected by the league. I already debunked that with video evidence on this site earlier this season, but Sid isn’t the only one the NHL is failing this year.

Boarding in my opinion has become the penaltie du jour among hitters who don’t want to get dinged for a straight head shot. The idea is to hit them in the back or waist and let the dasher do the rest.  The latest major example happens to be on the alleged bubble boy himself, Sidney Crosby.

In Tampa Bay last week defenceman Luke Witkowski was a little overzealous on our captain, giving him a helpful shove head first into the advertisements. No call came from Player Safety and no   penalty was given at ice level.

Video: SPORTSNETCANADA

For those about to accuse me of begging for a suspension every time Sid gets touched, keep calm and go to a Capitals blog. I’m not surprised or even upset there was no look by Player Safety. What concerns me most is the acceptability of plays like this.

This is not on the on ice officials either. In most cases at ice level the  force and impact of the push in the moment aren’t more than a minor. There’s no thought of intent, and it’s just a hockey play. Players just don’t know any better.

But like head shots, the NHL needs to step in and say enough is enough. It’s getting to be too much. With their own penal system they can send the message that just because this is a minor penalty, it can have major repercussions (i.e. a  broken neck and back like happened in the AHL and the KHL). The decision to push in the first place is the problem, not the actual push.

This has nothing to do with Sidney Crosby. There were two more major boarding incidents last night, including Brian Dumoulin getting rammed. People have spent their day crying over a Kris Letang phantoms elbow head shot and don’t even bat an eye about that boarding penalty to a defenceless player.

The league doesn’t protect Sidney Crosby personally and they’ve proven that. But what happens to Crosby and other superstars is a product of the culture the League has promoted, and for some reason the fans have accepted it.

 

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