No Helmet League?
In a poorly timed self-described “rant,” – 21 year-old Don Sanderson died last week after hitting his head on the ice during an Ontario Hockey Association fight – Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Rosenbloom called yesterday for the NHL to forbid NHL players from wearing helmets. Rosenbloom apparently believes that this will help the NHL sell its product, allowing casual fans to see their favorite players sans lid. When I read Rosenbloom’s blog, I fell off my chair. (Only my PC helmet, which I wear whenever I surf the internet, saved me from serious injury.) While many columnists and bloggers are dusting off the “fighting should be banned” argument following the Ontario tragedy, Rosenbloom does the opposite, essentially calling for more serious injuries and deaths. While I believe fighting has a place in the NHL, the strength of the players and the speed of the game make helmets – if not helmets with visors or more – an absolute necessity. Let Duncan Keith’s shot to Dustin Byfuglien’s face on Sunday serve as the more tangible evidence, but Rosenbloom’s thesis is flawed on a more basic level. The idea that helmeted players are less marketable is an outdated – if not false – one. You think the NFL is hurting because its players’ faces are largely hidden? If anything, the league and its thugs have benefitted from the headwear. Many of us will tune in to watch the BCS National Championship Game this evening, and those players will be wearing helmets. And, our national pastime’s players have worn caps for over a century; they look to be doing just fine.
But, how many of us would admit to watching an NBA game recently?
Tim Sassone reports it’s unlikely Patrick Kane will return to the ‘Hawk line-up this evening in Colorado. He’s previously reported Kane is hopeful to return for one of the weekend games versus the Nashville Predators – presumably Saturday’s road game since the team brought him along on the road trip.
Remember, last season Sidney Crosby returned to the line-up after missing time due to a high ankle sprain, but had to miss more games down the stretch due to pain in the ankle. Here’s my solution: if the ‘Hawks beat the team formerly known as the Avalanche this evening, give Kane the weekend off to rest the ankle. (Even if they don’t win, perhaps more rest is the best idea.) Giving him time to allow the ankle heal fully is probably the wisest course of action for now – especially with the team playing well in his absence.
Update: Mr. Kaner is playing this evening in Colorado.
Sassone also reports that Cam Barker has been a healthy scratch two games in a row, and will likely be demoted soon. With James Wisniewski manning the point on the power play, Barker is largely obsolete.
Finally, it’s official: there were no Blackhawks chosen for reserve duty in this month’s NHL All Star Game in Montreal. As we’ve previously explained in this space, either you (a) voted for Jonathon Toews and Brian Campbell, or (b) you’re upset with the perceived snubbing of Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp. You just can’t do both. Electing three ‘Hawks via fan balloting essentially eliminated others from reserve roles – Norris Trophy candidates or not.
Ruutu’s Bark and His Bite
For those of you living under a rock (thanks for visiting), Jarko Ruutu was suspended yesterday for biting the Buffalo Sabres’ Andrew Peters on Tuesday. (Click for the video.) Ruutu acted as if his eye had been poked.
Eh, Tuomo was our favorite anyway.
Separated at Birth
I just can’t hold it in anymore. Adam Burish and the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers were apparently separated at birth, and neither will help your offense very much.