Head Shots in the NHL: Are They a Future Infestation?

December 20th, 2009 by Chris Hoy Leave a reply »
Having just watched Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s attempted decapitation of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Matt Stajan this past Saturday night, I’m all for stoking the fire of the debate. All season long, head shots have been a hot topic around the NHL, and the subject has raised extreme feelings on both sides of the debate.

On one side, you have science. Former Chicago Blackhawks player Reggie Fleming passed away this past July at the age of 73. After his brain tissue was examined post-mortem, he was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) following an estimated 20 concussions over a 13-year career.

CTE is the kind of injury most often found in football players or boxers. It is also the same injury that former Pro Wrestler Chris Benoit suffered from, and we all know how that ended for him.

On the other side, you have ego. “Stop wussifying the game!” is their battle cry. “It’s a tough game played by tough men!” They want the players to police themselves through fighting. You know, as though a 6’2” 225lb athlete in his 20s will somehow be afraid to bodycheck for fear he’ll get punched. These men willingl ...

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