ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Another night in the National Hockey League saw yet another high hit. In Buffalo, the Sabres’ John Scott extended through his hit on Loui Eriksson of the Bruins with the principle point of contact being Eriksson’s head.
The hit was in the neutral zone after Eriksson had sent the puck into the offensive zone. Eriksson was already bringing his stick back down from the shot when Scott clearly targeted Eriksson. As Scott delivered the hit he extended his body, all 6’8”, 259 pounds, and made contact with the head of Eriksson who fell to the ice dazed.
Eriksson was helped to the bench and locker room by teammates as he was unable to skate under his own power or control.
So once again the NHL’s Brendan Shanahan is faced with one more player hearing to decide on a suspension.
And the question remains in place here: What will it take to stop the checks to the head?
Loui Eriksson is now added to a growing list of NHL players suffering concussions as a result of wanton actions on the ice by players who have no regard for their opponent or their own team for that matter. Dan Boyle, Jack Johnson, Rick Nash, Dustin Penner, and Nathan Gerbe are just a few.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, Dallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt was suspended for five games, without pay, for charging Anaheim Ducks forward Dustin Penner in Anaheim. Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Garbutt will forfeit $14,743.60. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Hall of Famer Phil Esposito offered 20 games as a minimum for head shots. That would push the fine to nearly $500,000 for some of these players. Those dollars count against the salary cap and limit team general managers and owners from operating a full bench if they have no room under the cap.
Is it appropriate for NHL players to be taking their careers and lives in their hands by playing the game that supports them?