Like most hockey fanatics these days, Eric Lindros is concerned about the concussion quandary that has infested the NHL this season.
The former Hart Trophy winner had his career interrupted by several concussions and he, too, has contemplated solutions to curb head injuries.
He wouldn't mind seeing the red-line back in the game. He also supports the idea of either enlarging the trapezoid behind the net to allow goalies an increased area to play the puck or getting rid of the trapezoid all together. What about tolerating a smidge of interference back in the game? He's for that, too. Any action that could reduce the number of concussions would be worth a try in Lindros' mind.
"I think there are two elements," Lindros said. "What can be done to avoid the situation through rule changes to reduce the quantity? The second is the after-care. It's nice to see concussions are now taken seriously, but there still needs to be more study in this area.
"We're talking about brain damage here."
The 37-year-old Lindros, who retired following the 2006-07 season, would like to see the NHL become more proactive in making the game safer for players. Why do six teams still have seamless glass? Why do many more still use it above the side boards? Why does a team like the Montreal Canadiens still have a dangerous partition between the benches?
The fear is that somebody is going to be injured even more seriously than Montreal forward Max Pacioretty was when he was driven into the stanchion between the benches by Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara last week.
"The league has been so reactionary in this area," said Lindros, who has returned to school and attends an economics and finance night course at the University of Toronto. "There is little forward thinking as to what can happen."
Lindros would like the NHL to consider removing one row on each side to make the ice surface bigger, too. Not the ends, just the side.
"Here's another thought and there will be an impact economically, but I'd like them to take the first row of seats out on each side," he said. "Make the rink wider by five feet on either side. It changes the angles that the puck is passed, it changes the angles defencemen have to defend. The defenceman has further to go to make the hit. He has to decide 'can I make it there in time or do I have to stay back?' He has to become more defensive.
"There just seems to be no space out there right now."
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