NHL General

I’m Sorry- You’re Sorry- Bettman Should Be Sorry

I’m sorry, you’re sorry, everyone’s sorry. It’s the same problem that has plagued this sport pretty much since the NHA days. Yes, it’s back to the old headhunting issue. This time, everyone is sorry. Randy Jones is sorry for his hit that gave Patrice Bergeron a broken nose and a concussion. Steve Downie is sorry for almost ending Dean MacAmmond’s career in the preseason. Todd Bertuzzi is still sorry for ending Steve Moore’s career a few years back, and of course, Marty McSorley is sorry for nearly decapitating Donald Brashier in 2000. Yeah, everyone’s sorry, but they still do it. I’m sure the next mega hit is just days away, with some other scrub attacking some star. Well, maybe in Beregeron’s case, not a star, but a player nonetheless. This has to be one of the greatest embarrassments in Gary Bettman’s embarrassing tenure as commissioner of the National Hockey League. After all the things he’s done to end the sport, two lockouts, an embarrassing national television deal, and expansion that has all but killed the product, this has to be the worst.

Not only are you dealing with the potential of star players going out of the game because of this, but you have people’s lives at stake. Yet, Bettman seems to care less. He cares more about making a dollar then he does about the sheer health of his players, sounds similar to another entity of “sports-entertainment” mired in controversy doesn’t it?

Yet, every year, diehard hockey fans, like me keep demanding the same thing, change. We don’t want the product to change, we don’t want the hits to change, but we just want the dirty tactics to change. We don’t want to see any player risk his life because of a cheap shot. Sure, they accept the risks when they play along the boards with their heads down, however, it should never be life-threatening.

So, what can be done to change the days of head hunters, and cheap hits? These are just a few solutions.

Repeal the Instigator Rule

Sure, hockey purists would love for this rule to stay. It does what they want it to, slow down the fighting. Yet, at what price? If I could, I would get on the ice and cheap shot someone, knowing that the other team can’t retaliate because they may get thrown out of the game. Sure, in October or November, this means nothing, but in March or April, it could mean the difference between sitting at home, and being in the playoffs. So, let’s ditch the rule. Would you think twice about cheapshotting someone if you knew that four of five guys were going to beat you down for that action? I know I would.

Automatic Game Misconduct for Cheap Shots

This is a good thing, if only it was a first step to something bigger. Sure, you would probably see the cheap shots go down in March and April, but not so much before December. It’s a great theory, but only as a first step to total reform.

Longer Suspensions

This would have to be step two. However, this is where things could get murky. One proposal I have heard is to suspend the offender as long as the injured player is out. If they play each other in two months, and a player is supposed to come back a week before they play, what is to stop the doctor from not clearing him for another week? I’m not saying team doctors are shady, but suddenly, you would have coaches and owners telling doctors how long to keep a player out. That’s a line that should never be crossed.

It’s obvious to everyone, but Gary Bettman that is, that something, anything has to be done, before we have a player die on the ice. If Steve Moore, Donald Brashier, Peter Bergeron, and Dean MacAmmond isn’t evidence enough that something has to be done, then maybe it’s further proof that the real change doesn’t need to happen at the PA, but at the top of the NHL’s board of governors.

By matt Jordan

Matt is an in-studio producer for three radio stations in a six station cluster. He has produced and co-hosted three sports talk shows, with one of them becoming number one in the market. He also is a play by play announcer for the Florence Redwolves, who play in the Coastal Plain League, the nation's hottest College Summer League. He is in his fourth season. He also was the PA Announcer for the Florence Phantoms indoor football team.

In his spare time Matt enjoys reading, writing, playing RTS video games, debating on religion, and good music. He is currently writing a play, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2009. Matt also writes for Medusa's Kiss magazine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *