Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Around the Rinks

Savard Done

Could this be the last we see of Boston Bruins playmaker Marc Savard?

The 33-year-old won't play again this season and, while he doesn’t want to entertain the thought of never playing again just yet, his career may be over at this point. After taking a heavy (legal) hit from Colorado’s Matt Hunwick in January, Savard suffered his second concussion in 10 months and he says a bunch of the post concussion symptoms came back to him.

Savard told reporters that the Hunwick hit “wasn’t a bad hit at all” and the player had actually reached out to him a couple of times since that game saying he felt terrible. First of all, good on Hunwick. It wasn’t a dirty hit by any means, but I’m sure a lot of people around the hockey world cringed when they head the sound of Savard hitting the boards and saw him drop to the ground.

This part kills me: ESPN reports that after the hit, Savard said to the Bruins athletic trainer Don DelNegro “Why?, Why again?”

I really feel for the guy…he is/was one of the most underrated players in the league, a guy who was over a point per game for five straight years before injuries and concussions took over his life. Think about the years of hard work that got him to where he was and then think about how quickly it all turned around, starting with that Matt Cooke hit. It literally took seconds to undo all the things Savard had done to become the hockey player that he was.

It’s got to be tough on a player to have a make a decision like the one he made on Monday, but I think we can all agree that it’s probably the right choice.

March of the Penguins

Speaking of concussions, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been out since early January with his head injury.

I say early January because it looked like the concussion probably happened on January 1st but he played his next game and took another heavy hit, which was cause for some controversy at the time. Whenever it happened, Crosby hasn’t played since and reports out of Pittsburgh say he won’t be playing any time soon.

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review (via TSN) says the 23-year-old won’t even be able to start exercising until late next week and will probably be out until at least March. If you’re counting, that would be over 20 games missed due to a concussion. The scary part (for Pens fans, anyways) is that March isn’t a sure thing and it really depends on how Crosby’s body reacts.

Obviously the Penguins are going to want to be as careful as possible with their superstar, but at the same time, they are getting pretty thin up front with Evgeni Malkin done for the year as well.

Somehow Pittsburgh is still winning without their two studs on the ice, but surely that can’t last forever…

Blame the NHLPA?

Who is leading the charge when it comes to getting headshots out of hockey?

Is it the NHL? Well, they seem to be making the rules and (sort of) enforcing them. It appears as though they are taking it seriously, but that might just be because of public pressure to do something.

So, is it the fans leading the charge? I don’t think so – at the end of the day, the league knows we’ll all be watching (and paying good money to do so) whether or not they put in a little rule that says a player can’t try to decapitate a fellow player.

So who is it? According to the NY Post's Larry Brooks, the people who would most benefit from these despicable acts leaving the ice surface are the ones pushing for weaker penalties!

That’s right – Brooks says the Players Association has “consistently argued against punishments that fit the crime of head-targeting.”

He says sources are telling him that the PA only signed off on rule 48 (the blindside hit to the head rule) on the condition that no big suspensions were handed out. You know, the type of “send a message” suspensions that would rid the game of headshots in half a season?

If what Brooks says is true, we (or at least I) have been directing our anger and confusion towards the wrong group all along!

I don’t understand though – why would the players be against stiff penalties for a vicious type of hit that really has no place in the game? We’re not talking about “standing a guy up at the blue line” type hits here. We’re talking about “wait until he’s not looking, swoop in and elbow him in the ear” type hits. Why wouldn’t players, as a whole, want that crap out of the game?

What do you think: Are you surprised to hear the allegations that there is some resistance on the PA side when it comes stiff penalties for hits like Dan Paille on Raymond Sawada? Do you find it frustrating that not only is it up to players to not make those hits, they are also allegedly influencing the decision to hand out weak punishments?

For me, the answers are “yes” and an emphatic “yes.”

Other stuff…

Photobucket

The FBI is helping out in the search for the Stanley Cup winning puck from last season…I know what you’re thinking, but Chris Pronger says he doesn’t have it!

Speaking of pucks…as the puck turns 135, NHL.com looks back on its history (frozen dog poop?)

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