The NHL Pre-Season is used to serve many different functions, for players and management, and to miss pre-season games due to suspensions has to be a tough situation for both parties. The pre-season is a great time for veteran players to work on certain things and hone their game, while it gives youngsters and rookies a chance to prove themselves. So far in the NHL pre-season, many players have had to face and serve suspensions because of the NHL’s commitment to protecting its players. Brendan Shanahan and his staff, whose sole purpose is to protect the players, have been busy in the last few weeks and seem to be making it clear the NHL will not tolerate illegal hits in the upcoming season.
The latest victim of this crackdown is Buffalo Sabres’ Brad Boyes. Boyes was suspended for 2 pre-season games for an illegal hit to the head of Toronto’s Joe Colborne. Going back to my article on the significant concussion issues in the NHL, this is good proof that the NHL is going to do its best at protecting the well being of all its players. Head injuries are a serious issue in the NHL and hopefully over time and consistently penalizing players with suspensions and fines, the NHL will overcome this problem.
Other notable suspensions this pre-season are Brad Staubitz and James Wisniewski. Staubitz was suspended indefinitely for an illegal check from behind and Wisniewski was suspended for an illegal hit to the head. Staubitz isn’t the only player that was suspended this pre-season for a check from behind, as was Calgary’s Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond.
I love the fact that the NHL is committed to protecting its players, but I hope it doesn’t take too much of the bumps and bruises out of the game. What are your thoughts??