September 28, 2007

Down with Hockey

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

Just when you think that the sport that goes out of it’s way to sabotage itself is starting to turn the corner and get on the right track, something happens to send it back into the negatives.

Firstly, I like the new slimmer designs for the league’s jerseys. Eliminating the clutching and grabbing will go a long way towards not just the possibility of more scoring, but more skill being involved in the game. Hopefully this will help even further weed out the big dumbass on each team who can’t really play the game properly, but can fight with his counterpart on the other team. Wade Belak, your days are numbered.

Now, how much of a neanderthal do you have to be to be to go headhunting in an exhibition game? Steve Downie’s hit on Dean McAmmond was completely uncalled for and a black eye for the game. What kind of person leaves their feet to hit someone directly in the head? This offense is indefensible in a meaningful game and that much worse when it’s a pre-season exhibition. Downie showed clear intent to injure McAmmond. The event was sickening.

How long the league suspends the Flyer’s hopeful will be a true indication of how they’re going to go on treating their players. Every other league has really started toughening up suspensions and monitoring their player’s conduct, on and off the field of play. This is a good chance for the NHL to show they know what they’re doing and that they deserve to be better than the red-headed step-child of sports that sits in the corner being kicked and spit on.

What’s even worse is the fact that, when Downie played for the Canadian team in the “Super Series” against Russia. Fans would openly cheer when Downie laid out Russian opponents with similar head-hunting style hits. How hypocritical and borderline racist is that? The entire sport of hockey needs to stop glamourizing the huge hits and emphasize, even more, that it’s a skill game. Their old style isn’t cutting it anymore and somebody at the NHL’s head office isn’t getting the memos.

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