I am certain that an opinion piece of this nature will upset each team’s fans but these head shots have got to stop. Of course, we are all hockey fans and love the big hit, some live for it but there needs to be a line drawn with the increasing speed to the game. These hits need to stop or else hockey becomes a survival of the fittest in which young players stand little chance of establishing a career due to playing scared due to footage from the last gruesome head shot.
While the League’s general managers mull over a rule change, I would like to propose a rule change of my own. Repeat dirty hits will lead to a permanent suspension from the League. The OHL instilled a similar rule when they banned Michael Liambas, a notoriously dirty player, from playing in their League following a career ending hit against Ben Fanelli. This instance marked just another time Liambas made a questionable hit, you cam see another one on first overall pick John Tavares here. The NHL made a similar move with former NHL pugilist Ryan Hollweg, essentially calling any hit remotely borderline until he played his way out of the league.
The moral of my rant will be that these types of players simply do not deserve a paycheck in the National Hockey League. A League where the rest of the world comes to play and play for the sport’s greatest trophies. What kind of message does it send when careers start to end due to these injuries? Do we need Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin seriously injured before we start to see lifetime bans?
My nominees for a lifetime ban…
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Similar to our Daily 3 Stars, this section will break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every week and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO) and therefore omit salaries.
THIRD STAR: Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens (0-0-1) – The impending RFA continues to prove his worth to the team following an off year. The 27-year-old and first line center scored two goals and assisted on six more totaling nine points over the week, three of which coming on the powerplay. A native of Kladno, Czechoslovakia, made famous as the birthplace of superstar Jaromir Jagr, Plekanec fired only six shots on goal while posting a plus three rating. Not known as a goalscorer he sits slightly over a point per game and projects to post 90 points when the season ends. Pretty impressive for a guy deemed expendable before the year began.
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The Washington Capitals placed Michael Nylander on waivers for the second time this season. I posed this question on Twitter earlier today, but Is Nylander really THAT bad?
Most Capitals fans say yes. Signed for this year and next, his annual cap hit of 4.875 million puts the handcuffs on GM George McPhee. In fact, teammate and essentially replacement Brendan Morrison is playing at a point-per-game pace while making a meager 1.5 million. Even if Nylander was claimed on re-entry waivers his cap hit would still be about a million above that.
Would anybody claim him?
Possibly, as the 37-year-old is only two years removed from a 83 point campaign. However these are two long years on a body that has endured over 16 years pro experience. Combine that with a recession and a salary cap and Nylander finds himself practicing alone, in Rockville in New York Rangers gear.
Maybe reuniting with Jaromir Jagr in Omsk would make the Swedish native happy. He seems to have no place on the current NHL rosters.
In other news, Ville Koistinen cleared re-entry waivers. A bit of a shocker to me, Koistinen is still young and has some success in the NHL. Couple that with the fact that the claiming team would only have to pay him a measly 600K. Simply put, he could have some value to a team in desperate need of a defenseman. With teams like the Blue Jackets and Islanders short on the defensive side I cannot beleive nobody took a chance.
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