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Flaws clear in NHLPA-Hockey Night poll

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Not all hockey fights are the same and this complex issue deserves more than a “yes” or “no” answer. (Terry Lee/Icon SMI)

By Stu Hackel

There’s lots to chew on in the annual NHLPA/CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Players’ Poll, the results of which were made public over the weekend. Pavel Datsyuk was pretty much acclaimed as the NHL’s best player, Zdeno Chara the best defenseman, and Henrik Lundqvist the best goalie. The players say they think the Canucks are overrated, the Blues are underrated, that they’d love to play for the Blackhawks, they love playing at Montreal’s Bell Centre, and  the Penguins Dan Bylsma is the coach they’d most like to play for.

There’s lots more, of course, but let’s stop to consider the issues-oriented questions in the poll, namely those on fighting and the instigator rule. There are some serious problems here, and they start with the questions themselves.

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  • Published On Feb 21, 2012
  • Will head shots decline under new Rule 48?

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    Montreal’s Michael Cammalleri is all for a good, hard physical game, but wants hitters to take a lot more responsibility for headshots. (Winslow Townson/AP)

    By Stu Hackel

    The NHLPA staged a golf outing this week not far from Toronto and the most prominent tidbits to emerge in the media were from the impromptu remarks that Executive Director Donald Fehr made forecasting the future of labor relations. Last week, we noted that the mini-orgy of front-loaded, long-term contracts that teams have recently doled out could well prompt some owners to press for changes during the next CBA negotiations. Given the fact that teams can’t seem to control themselves when it comes to spending, these proposals could be more exacting than the current system that the league achieved by locking out the players for the 2004-05 season, and we wondered if more labor unrest was on the horizon.

    Fehr’s remarks were meant to be reassuring (TSN video and a complete transcript from Sean Fitz-Gerald in The National Post). He downplayed the potential for a clash with team owners over the deals in question or that the cap floor is too high and forces low revenue teams to spend beyond their means. And he added, “The hockey players and the fans suffered through that seven years ago, and the owners achieved what they wanted to achieve. So, hopefully, that’s behind us.”

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  • Published On Jul 13, 2011
  • The myth of the “head up” headshot defense

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    Though players are taught to protect themselves from onrushing checkers by keeping their heads up, it’s not always possible when they’re looking for the puck. (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    Marc Savard has another concussion and Sidney Crosby will not be taking part in this weekend’s All-Star festivities as he continues to recover from the one he suffered. These news items may or may not further ratchet up the discussion on how the NHL deals with hits to the head, although it’s hard to imagine the debate being more polarizing than it is at the moment.

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  • Published On Jan 25, 2011


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