Will Shea Weber Be Suspended For Zetterberg Head Slam?

  • Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:28 AM
  • Written By: Josh Marks

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The National Hockey League playoffs are under way, and the first test of the NHL's more aggressive action in enforcing the rules against hits to the head occurred in the waning seconds of Nashville's Game 1 victory over Detroit at Bridgestone Arena. Preds defenseman Shea Weber, his team shorthanded and clinging to a one-goal lead, slammed Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg's head into the glass twice.

Luckily, Zetterberg didn't appear to be seriously injured by the malicious attack. But regardless, this is a big test for the NHL's head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. Does he suspend Weber for one or two games to send a message that pro wrestling moves won't be tolerated in professional hockey? But this isn't the regular season. This is the playoffs where every game matters and the loss of a key player on the blue line for even a game could cost the series for the Predators.

But while Shanahan needs to be aware of the consequences for Nashville, he could also want to send a strong message to the league that these antics simply won't be tolerated. The fact that Weber is a repeat offender could weigh heavily on the decision. Weber was fined $2,500 last October for a boarding penalty on Vancouver's Jannik Hansen.

What makes the head slam even more curious is the fact that Weber is a recent concussion victim. He suffered a concussion this past December after a hit to the head from Dallas Stars defenseman Mark Fistric and was sidelined four games. Now Weber might sit out as the perpetrator instead of the victim. You would think Weber would have learned a lesson about how dangerous hits to the head can be, but apparently not. Weber and his team might pay a heavy price for his unsportsmanlike play Wednesday night.

Will NHL Players Follow NFL Players And Sue Over Concussions?

  • Tuesday, December 27, 2011 7:49 AM
  • Written By: Josh Marks

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The concussion crisis in professional ice hockey continued today with the sobering news that Nashville Predators star forward Shea Weber is out indefinitely with a concussion.

The news regarding Weber is the latest blow to the NHL and its efforts at limiting hits to the head and promoting the sport to a wider audience. Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Mike Richards, Jeff Skinner, Joni Pitkanen, Kris Letang, Chris Pronger, Zbynek Michalek, Marc Staal, Robert Bortuzzo, Jay Beagle, Milan Michalek, Brayden Schenn, Radek Martinek, Marek Zidlicky, Nathan Gerbe, Nino Niederreiter, Peter Mueller, Marc Savard, Ian Laperriere and Mike Green. These are some of the victims but the list is even longer. One of these players with concussion symptoms is unacceptable. This many is a crisis that must be dealt with.

Some analysts say the increased speed of the game following new rules implemented after the lockout are to blame for the increase. Did removing the red line cause more neutral zone crashes between opposing players? Perhaps. Others argue that the increase in concussions is a result of improved detection and treatment by the league. Would a bigger ice surface help avoid collisions? Would stronger helmets with more padding protect the players from head injuries in the event of a collision? Maybe.

There are many possible reasons behind the increase in concussions and many possible solutions. They should all be on the table and should be the number one topic of discussion in the NHL until there is a noticeable decrease in head injuries.

Otherwise, there is the very real possibility NHL players could take legal action similar to what 21 former NFL players recently did in suing the NFL over "severe and permanent brain damage they say is linked to concussions suffered on the job." According to the USA Today story, the lawsuit "accuses the NFL of deliberately omitting or concealing years of evidence linking concussions to long-term neurological problems."

Yes, football and hockey are violent sports. But that doesn't mean the leagues, players and fans should accept concussions as part of the job risks these athletes signed up for. If legal action is the only avenue players have to protect their precious noggins than more power to them.