Dan Hamhuis is out indefinitely with a concussion. That means, at this point in time, there are a double digit number of players out with concussions or concussion symptoms. This list includes Marc Savard, Raitis Ivanans, Peter Mueller, David Perron, Ian Laperriere, Bryce Salvador, Blake Comeau, Sidney Crosby and several others.
Obviously not all of those players were put out of action due to illegal hits, blindside hits, dangerous hits or other punishable offences, so it’s not like the league dropped the ball in every scenario. In fact, in the majority of the instances that caused concussions, nothing happened that was against the NHL rules.
However, concussions are incredibly dangerous. We learn more about their devastating effects all the time and we know that they can have long-lasting effects. Bob Duff of NBC Sports wrote a piece yesterday about how concussions can impact the careers and lives and those who have received them.
Is there anything the league can do to cut down on these injuries? Or do they simply come along with a contact sport like hockey?
One possible solution is the Messier Project helmet. The M11 helmet claims to offer additional head protection and Mark Messier himself ”took an active role in the design and development of the M11 and is leading the charge to make head protection a top priority in the sport and to promote safe play.”
The M11 helmet “is proven to absorb more energy from high impact linear forces than other premium helmets to provide maximum protection and features Cascade Sports’ revolutionary Seven Technology, a cutting-edge liner system utilizing a ground-breaking impact attenuation system to more effectively manage energy tranfer from direct impact.”
But will it catch on?
Right now it isn’t. The M11 helmet currently has about 15% of the marketplace and NHL players have been slow to adopt it. Why aren’t players wearing the helmet?
George Malik at Kukla’s Korner Hockey thinks he has an idea. It’s not cool.
“The M11 has one fatal flaw: It’s a big, bulky helmet, and it doesn’t pass the “mirror test” in a league where image is everything and helmet designs earn automotive industry-level attention to how form follows function.”
The National Hockey League has seen some strange helmets in the past, but they’ve always been an exception. However, could the fact that players now understand just how dangerous concussions can be change this? What if Sidney Crosby wore one? Would having “the face of the game” in an M11 make them more commonplace and take them from “weird” to “normal”? And, if so, has Messier made that call yet?