Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Jeremy Roenick's Concussion

On Sunday, in a pre-season game, Los Angeles defeated Phoenix 7-4. The memorable point in the game occurred in the second period when LA forward Jeremy Roenick suffered a concussion (the eleventh of his career) as a result from a hit from Phoenix's Denis Gauthier. From the replay I have seen, the hit is within the rules of the NHL. TSN's story on the game is here.

I'm not normally one to blame the victim, but I think Jeremy Roenick's attitude as revealed by some of his quotes regarding the incident show that his attitude was a contributing factor to the injury.

Roenick is quoted as saying:

What bothers me is that it didn't have to happen . . . It's things like that that end people's careers, especially in the pre-season when people are trying to get in shape and avoid stuff like that.

and

I think it indicates the state of our game, the lack of respect - especially in pre-season. It is uncalled for. It is ridiculous - one of the reasons our game isn't as good as it once was. There is no respect for people in this league. It was not a cheap hit, it was a good solid hit. But you don't do that in pre-season.

If Roenick expects to play NHL games (even in pre-season) without any hard hits, he is not living in reality. The NHL is a competitive league. People are fighting one another for playing time and to establish themselves in high paying hockey careers and Roenick expects the game to be a leisurely pond hockey game where he can get into shape? If Roenick is still trying to get in shape and not expecting any hard hits, he is that much more likely to suffer an injury.

Gauthier responds to Roenick's remarks with:

I'm really sorry he feels that way, but I had no intention of hurting anyone. 'It's a physical game. . . . This is my first year with a new team, and I'm fighting for a spot in the rotation.

This is not only Gauthier's mindset, but that of most of the players on the ice. If Roenick is not ready for a hard fought game played by people fighting for playing time and NHL jobs, he is not ready for the game. He probably shouldn't be playing at all. In a worst case (such as what happened) Roenick is risking serious injury. Maybe this mindset shows Roenick isn't really ready for a hard gruelling NHL season and is closer to retirement then we may imagine.

NHL hockey is not a soft game. Even in pre-season its not a soft game. If Roenick is expecting a soft game, he will be disappointed. He already has a concussion to go with his disappointment.

NOTE: Sean Avery of the Kings is adding to the stupid remarks. Here is his quote:

I think it was typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough and not back anything up.

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