OK. I get it that there are more concussions in the game of hockey at all levels today. Is it bigger, faster players? Yes, in part.
Is it improved medical diagnostic testing? Yes, in part.
Are we over-the-top discussing this topic every game? I'll say.
But here I go talking about dangerous hits. In particular, the Tom Kostopoulos hit on Brad Stuart. I have watched it over and over again trying to find what I might be missing, but I can only go by what my eyes tell me. (For more, watch our debate on last week's Hotstove.
Brad Stuart was swatting an elusive and bouncing puck trying to clear it from the zone. Kostopoulos was the third man on the forecheck and heading straight for the action.
As Stuart continued to battle the puck, Kostopoulos hit him as Stuart was somewhat bent over.
Technically, I would have had it as a charge - maybe. Mostly I had it as a wicked hit on the forecheck to a player who was vulnerable. No elbow. But six games?
Wrong and unfair to Kostopoulos, who unwisely refused to attend the hearing to investigate the hit - which was not good politics - but I admire his decision to make a stand.
And speaking of politics, this decision smells of it. It involves Detroit, a classy organization that mostly disdains the rough and tumble game for an efficient and skilful one. They bitched. The league listened. They fell to the growing whiff of (mostly) media-created frenzy about the dangers of head shots.
Don't call this an uninformed opinion. I researched a ton of recent collisions and many were far more malicious. And this was not a ruling based on the changes of last year. This is a new level of discipline for hitting a vulnerable player. Message to the guys: If you think you might hurt someone, don't finish your check, even if it is legal.
I don't know what to expect from Colin Campbell anymore and I have been one of his biggest supporters.
He made the ruling in part because he felt Stuart's head was targeted. Kostopolous insists, even after the ruling, that there was no targeting or malice. I believe him. And if Colin Campbell is allowed to mind read Kostopoulos, I can try my hand at reading Campbell's mind.
He made the decision after being influenced by Detroit and by the climate of concussion mania in which we now reside.
A stinky ruling.
By the way, I read yesterday that there have been 11 snowboarding deaths so far this year in the United States. Where are my media colleagues on this one? I don't even want to know how many have died skiing.
Do you have improvements to suggest for this page?