"Bubba's Inbox" has been pretty busy the past day or so. Of course it only figures that a post-game article which was quickly thrown together during the heat of the moment late on a Saturday night, would be quoted from and linked to, by every hockey blog from the Bahamas to the Northwest Territories. (slight exaggeration, but Puck Daddy's Blog and Kukla's Korner is enough).
It seems that more than a few hockey fans out there were less than enamoured with my brief analysis of the Canes/Islanders game, as well as my new found "dislike" for Dougie Weight.
In retrospect, perhaps I should have worded things somewhat differently and thought out my reasoning a bit better. After reviewing "the hit" a few more times, I will admit that Sutter was in a very awkward position which helped to precipitate the ill-affect of Weight's direct hit.
But.... I do still think that Weight needs to take some responsibility for the fact that he did knock Sutter out. Intentional or not, he lowered his shoulder, lined his target up, and went after him. Weight has been around long enough to know that bad things can happen when you do that to a vulnerable player. If the NHL is serious about limiting hits to the head, they need to take some kind of action whether these hits are accidental or not.
Even though Puck Daddy disagrees, I kind of like the analogy that one commenter left comparing those hits with a "high-sticking" infraction. When one player hits another with a high stick, it's unintentional, but it's still a penalty. Perhaps something like this should be done when a shoulder connects with a head?
Of course the blood-thirsty fans out there want more hits like this, not fewer. For instance, the Scott Stevens fan club still drools over the very thought of one player knocking another one out on the ice.
Seriously though, the NHL is in a tough spot. Fans don't want to eliminate hitting from the league, but it doesn't do the league any good to see it's big names knocked out of commission either. It also doesn't help to boost scoring, when skilled players are getting seriously injured. What should be done?
I don't have the answers, but it has been a healthy debate and it will go on.
James Mirtle recently ran an article about this subject himself and inserted a poll to see how people felt. Surprisingly enough, 38% felt that Weight's hit "should not be considered clean". Maybe I'm not alone afterall.
Many thanks for the words of wisdom and advice that many of you emailed me during the past couple of days. Although, I don't plan on moving to Europe anytime soon, and while I do enjoy watching women's hockey, I'm not going to stop blogging about the NHL. (I won't bother to mention some of the other suggestions).
But keep those cards and letters coming!