Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thoughts on the Season & Pommer's Hit.

Well, the season hasn't started off as well as any of us would have liked, but it definitely isn't time to get overly worried. With last season's early exit in the playoffs combined with the disastrous Bills, which at this point is almost comical (I say "almost" because it's not funny anymore when they have been this bad for this long), Buffalo fans were eager for the season to start and we were all hoping for better results.

We are really fed up with the Bills being 0-5, so with the Sabres being 1-2-0, it doesn't make anyone feel good. I think some us need to remember that there are more than 16 games in an NHL season. In fact, there are 82 of them. So we all need to relax and ride out the next few weeks until we can really gauge where this team is at. There have been some bright spots (Roy, Stafford), there have been some uncertainties (where is our defense?), and then there have been downright ugly moments (Hjalmarsson's hit on Pominville).

Which brings me to the hit... I'll try not to say much because I'm sure my thoughts on the hit are basically the same as most people. But I am just sick and tired of how much of a gray area there is when it comes to illegal hits like this. Was the hit an intent to injure? Does the player have a history of dirty hits/plays? It's all bullshit. How many times am I going to have to say "The NHL really needs to crack down on hits like this"? The league needs to implement a 0 tolerance policy on hits like this. I don't care if the player wasn't intentionally trying break a player's neck and leave him concussed. I don't care if the player has never done this before. Hjalmarsson's hit on Pominville was stupid, unnecessary, and dangerous. With hits like that, it should be an automatic suspension, plain and simple. Why would anyone think that these kind of hits will cease if the NHL has a reputation for being completely inconsistent when it comes to the consequences?

It's time for the NHL to stop referring to their flow chart on how to suspend players. I know fans have touched on this before, but I think a good way to decide how long a player should be suspended for is to see how long the injured player will be out for. You hit a player and now he's going to be out for a month? Have fun sitting in the press box for a month without pay. Or how about if a 4th line goon takes out a star player, maybe that team should sit out their star player until the injured player is ready to return. Maybe that would take care of the kind of hits like Cooke's hit on Savard which is still keeping him from playing. I know it would be too controversial and complicated to implement a rule like that, but at this point, I think going to extremes like that might be the only way to stop these foolish and dangerous plays that cheapen the game.

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