With the General Managers meetings going on in Florida and the big topic du jour being head shots and concussions, I ask - can Sidney Crosby be the leader to fix the NHL?
With Crosby being sidelined since January 5th, missing 29 games with a concussion, Sid the Kid knows all to well the effects of a head shot and concussion. Taking to the ice for the first time since January for about 15 minutes, Crosby’s return this season is doubtful. With the face of the NHL injured and not on the ice or TV, the league has suffered.
Speaking to reporters after his skate, Crosby wants action to be taken on head shots to protect players around the league. When asked what nees to be done, Crosby said,
“Banning (headshots) would be the easiest and the safest route. There are times when there is going to be accidental contact and how do you deal with that? That’s something that they have to work out. But as far as targeting the head, yeah. No matter if it’s from the blindside or straight on, if someone targets the head, then yeah, I think that should be banned.”
This is a pretty strong statement coming from the best player in the league. Crosby didn’t mix his words or give a standard cliche remark. He took a side and made a clear statement to the NHL, general managers and to players. Every player knows that head shots don’t belong in the NHL, but some players are afraid to stand up and call a spade a spade.
When Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins spoke up against his teammate Daniel Pallie earlier in the year when he delivered a blindside headshot, Ference was blasted in the media for not being a good teammate and for going against the code. Pallie believed his hit was not illegal even though he was suspended for the hit. Playing for the Bruins and being on the roster when the Matt Cooke/Marc Savard incident happened, you would think Boston players would be uber sensitive to headshots. But when Pallie delivered his, he saw nothing wrong with it. His whole team supported him too except for Ference (a bottom pairing D-man) and he was persecuted for his comments.
Now if Ference (who’s star power is as big a Carrot Top’s) can stand up and put himself out there to take a stand on headshots, can Crosby use his star power to create change? When Crosby speaks, people listen. Being the best player on the ice, a role model off it, and a hero to hockey fans across the world, Crosby has grown into a leader for his team.
We have seen Crosby grow up before our eyes. When he first entered the league, he was thought of as a whiner. But as he mature and became captain of his team, Crosby became one of the most respected competitors in the league. He has led his team to a Stanley Cup. He has led his country to a gold medal. Is it time for him to led the NHL into the next evolution of the game?
If any player has the power to lead the league, it is Crosby. He embodies the new NHL. He can sell the game to any market in the world (even the US) and is respected by most players around the league. And experiencing the effects of a headshot and concussion first hand, Crosby has the knowledge to understand the issue and the severity of it. The league needs a player to step up and be their voice.
A great man once said, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” If Crosby believes headshots need to be eliminated from the game, I hope he stands up and leads the NHL. I know he can do it, what do you think?
Here is Crosby speaking with the media about his injury and headshots. Video courtesy of PensTV Online and is about ten minutes long.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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