It can surely have come as no surprise that, once again, the NHL has failed to step up and take the lead in resolving a situation which, it is clear to all right thinking hockey fans, has become an enormous problem. To the neanderthals in the NHL administration and throughout the old boys network the fear that the game will turn "soft" if the physicality is removed from it outweighs the fear that permanent damage or even death may occur as a result of the upgrade in speed, size and strength of the players and the technology of the modern equipment. And let there be no doubt about it. One only has to watch the Chara hit on Pacioretty to realize that this is not an alarmist overreaction. Pacioretty could have been killed in that incident frighteningly easily. The question has been asked frequently in the wake of the Bertuzzi/Moore incident and the growing number of controversial hits that have followed it...is someone going to have to die before the NHL is moved to take action? Because make no mistake about it. We came very close this time.
But another question occurs to me. The players are all members of the same trade union. A union which has the authority to instruct them to withdraw their services to advance their cause if necessary. Shouldn't the NHLPA be stepping up and saying that enough is enough. Couldn't they withdraw the right to membership of players who intentionally try to hurt and maim their fellow members or, through carelessness, negligence or thoughtlessness endanger the lives and livelihoods of their peers?
We can quite rightly criticize the NHL for their abject failure to act in this matter. They have had years of experience on which to base action and have failed to do so. What about the NHLPA though? Isn't it time for them to a stand to protect their members? Perhaps having just emerged from an era when the union was a rudderless ship the new management can be extended a little leeway but it is certainly time for Donald Fehr to prove that he has the best interests of his constituents and the game we all love at heart. Let's hear from you Mr. Fehr.