Eric Lindros' Drastic Rule Change Would Make Hockey Safer, But Is It Too Extreme? - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Eric Lindros' Drastic Rule Change Would Make Hockey Safer, But Is It Too Extreme?

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    Eric Lindros' Drastic Rule Change Would Make Hockey Safer, But Is It Too Extreme?
    CSNPhilly.com
    Eric Lindros' drastic rule change would make hockey safer, but is it too extreme?

    The NFL's new helmet rule has caused confusion and frustration in the preseason.

    Routine tackles in the past have been flagged, and players, media members and fans have voiced their concerns with what exactly will be a legal tackle come the regular season.

    Enough with football. Could something like this come to hockey?

    If Flyers legend Eric Lindros had his way, it would, and it would go a bit further too.

    Lindros said last week at See The Light, a concussion conference at Western University in London, Ontario, that he would be in favor of eliminating body contact altogether.

    Via the National Post:

    "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."

    Let's unpack Lindros' suggested rule change because there is a lot there for the hockey traditionalists to chew on. I'm sure we'll see some in the comments section below.

    Removing body contact from hockey would be a fundamental adjustment to a game that has a culture of being a tough, physical sport where hockey players notoriously play through injuries.

    Hockey players have a reputation of being warriors. and they get celebrated for it. Heck, Ivan Provorov played Game 6 vs. Pittsburgh with a Grade 3 AC separation that requires eight weeks to heal. Wayne Simmonds played the entire year with more injuries than he could remember.

    The toughness hockey players display on a nightly basis is admirable, but it's also sometimes stupid. When it comes to concussions and head injuries, it's especially dumb.

    But removing body contact altogether seems extreme. Considering the NHL refuses to admit there is a correlation between hockey and concussions, it'll be nothing more than a suggestion.

    The point, though, shouldn't be lost. Concussions remain a serious issue and the league isn't doing enough to address it. The NHL won't even admit there's a correlation. That's a problem.

    On Friday, the same day as Lindros' suggested rule change, the NHLPA contributed a joint donation of $3.125 million toward concussion and brain injury research.

    Lindros is one of several former hockey players who has been vocal about concussions and hockey, and understandably so. Concussions are very much part of Lindros' legacy.

    There are other ways to address concussions and the sport. It begins by admitting there is a link between CTE and hockey. The NHL has taken steps in protecting its players, but it can do more.

    Headshots are penalized more seriously, but there remains inconsistency in the how NHL's Department of Player Safety governs. That's another area that should be addressed: more consistency.

    The International Ice Hockey Federation, which oversees the Olympics, European leagues and international tournaments, penalize all hits to the head. That would be an enormous step.

    Let's not get sidetracked by Lindros' idea of removing body contact from hockey. Instead, let's stay on the NHL to continue to do better in protecting its employees from serious brain injuries.

    After all, NHL players do have families to go home to after work and lives to live after their playing days are over.

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