Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mr. Potato Head PSA and Other Ideas to Reduce Dangerous Hits in the NHL

By Lisa Ovens

As a fan of this great sport, I care about hockey players, and like so many others, I'd like to see fewer stretchers and trainers on the ice aiding the victims of dangerous hits. So does Mr. Potato Head...

Mr. Potato Head's Public Service Announcement

Yo, I wanna talk to the players right now, especially those ones that are running other players down. There's only one player out there on the ice that can take your hits, and that player is me. Why? Look at me...I'm a potato! You knock me flyin', I lose an eye or my duster, I just go into the compartment in my ass and get my replacement parts out. It's a no brainer for a potato like me. But if you headhunters out there keep doing what you are doing there'll be too many players with "no brainers", and that just isn't good for this game.

Take it from a NHL career is already too short for most, let's help make it last as long as it can for you and your brothers. Thanks for listenin'!

I've been waiting for a few years to use the Mr. Potato Head the hockey player photo. Seriously speaking though it's bothersome to learn both sides of the league are so divided when they really need to be working closely together on a concern as important as safety. And let's not forget the other concern: popularity.

I really like this quote from Brian Campbell, Chicago Blackhawks defender and recent victim of a season ending hit....he's got the right idea...

"We come off the Olympics, which was so great for hockey, and then within two weeks you have the hit on Savard and now this. What parent in the US watching is going to want to put there kid in hockey? We have to do something to stop this.”

As far as the players are concerned, perhaps in the off season they need to gather in an airport hotel ballroom, with some lousy coffee and little Club House sandwiches and have a conference. A two or three day affair to sort out their issues with respecting the game and each other and what the heck, why not discuss “the Code” while they are at it because everyone appears to be in a state of confusion when it comes to clean hits, dirty hits, when to retaliate, etc.

This has to be done, and as Don Cherry might say, do it "face to face."

The boys needs to get it all sorted out for next season. Either refresh everyone on the code, or re-vamp it or throw it out, but whatever they do get everyone on the same page, and keep it simple. Maybe someone could write a jingle. I remember the jingle for kilometers per hour vs. miles in relation to speed...this is something I would sing in my head when driving in the States,

20 get’s ya 30
30 get’s ya 50
50 get’s ya 80

I will never forget that jingle (trust me it was the cheesiest one ever). The players could use a jingle to help them stop and think about the consequences of their actions....

I wrote a sample jingle that they could use, or it could be a reference point for them to come up with their own easy reminder system. It's sung to the tune Is She really Going Out With Him? by Joe Jackson...

Do I really need to charge at him?
Do I really want to leave my feet right now?
Do I really need to elbow him?
Cause his eyes can’t really see me
and something could go wrong around here.

Could you imagine every player in the Mississauga Ballroom at the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel singing that out loud? Okay, I am obviously being silly, but they gotta try out some stuff and they should show the fans at least that they really care about the future of this game.

Too many times, at the end of the season we hear about how the players just scatter around the world and begin their summers. Well I don't think that should happen this year. They need to come together, as a big group, hitters and victims, the fighters and the skill guys and have a big "players only" conference.

Dudes, June's a good time as any to strenthen your association by way of a conference. And the NHLPA needs to be stronger...Mr. Potato Head kind of strong ;o)

I've got more coming on this topic...It's like Dangerous Hits Week in Lisa's Hockey Lounge!

No comments:

Post a Comment