Monday, March 14, 2011

RIP Rick Martin and other Monday morning musings

Don Cherry comes off as a half-crazed old crank as often as not, but he made one of the most relevant and revealing contributions to the player safety debate during Saturday's edition of Coach's Corner on Hockey Night in Canada. Cherry showed a montage of 18 instances of players being slammed into the stanchion between benches - not to exonerate Zdeno Chara for his hit on Max Pacioretty, but to demonstrate that it wasn't an isolated incident, and that flawed arena design was as much to blame as anything for the severity of Pacioretty's injury. Cherry did what a lot more people need to do: he identified a problem and proposed a solution...You think the Canadiens have had it tough with injuries to key players? Pittsburgh's been without Sidney Crosby for 29 straight games and Evgeny Malkin for 22 of the last 23, and the Penguins are still fourth in the East and within striking distance of conference-leading Philadelphia...If you're not old enough to remember former Buffalo Sabre Rick Martin, who died over the weekend, think Rick Nash - soft hands, big shot and a nose for the net, and one of the best natural goal scorers of his era. Somebody needs to explain to me how guys like Clark Gillies and Larry Murphy are Hall of Fame-worthy but Rick Martin isn't...Good conscience precludes me from picking sides in the NFL labor dispute. How do you sympathize with either of two parties who can't agree on how to split nine billion dollars? It's not like they're getting divorced and emotion is preventing one or both sides from seeing reason. It's business. Get it done.

1 comment:

  1. I can agree that the stanchions should be modified to eliminate the risk of players slamming into them. But making equipment and arenas safer won’t stop players from taking cheap shots at each other. It all boils down to fair play and mutual respect. If players respected each other a little more there would be a huge drop-off of headshots, blindsides, boarding, after the play and any other form of dirty hit. Given the speed and strength of NHL players it can’t be expected in all situations but if a player sees that his opponent is in a vulnerable position he should turn off. The onus is on the hitter to judge. Whether accidental or not if the hit is dangerous then there should be a suspension