While one veteran NHLer offered a ‘tough love’ stance on head shots last week, Mike Cammalleri of the Montreal Canadiens offered nothing but support and gratitude for Sidney Crosby’s comments on removing hits to the head from the game. Bill Beacon of the Canadian Press reports that Cammalleri sees Crosby’s public condemnation of head shots as an opportunity for other players to speak out on the subject.
Crosby met with the media in Pittsburgh on September 7th for the first time since April. Crosby mostly fielded questions about the status of his recovery from a January concussion(s), but did offer some support for the NHL and the NHLPA for their roles in working to reduce the occurences of brain injuries. Crosby also expressed his desire to see the league and players’ union take the next step and work to eliminate head shots altogether:
“As a league, as a union, I think we’ve all educated ourselves a lot in the last six or seven months. I think it can go further. At the end of the day, I don’t think there’s a reason not to take [head shots] out.”
Cammalleri, who missed the LA Kings final 31 games in his rookie season with post-concussion syndrome, believes it’s important not to ignore the words of No. 87:
“I think it’s very good of Sid to be able to do that. He’s under a big microscope, the biggest in our game, and I commend him for doing that. I think that it’s important that we don’t be ignorant to what’s going on in our game.”
The culture of hockey is one that is replete with macho stereotypes. Cammalleri hopes that the taboo nature of talking about the risks of hockey’s intense physicality can be lifted in light of Crosby’s recent comments on head shots:
“You have to be aware of everyone’s agenda, everyone has a personal agenda and reasons why they want or don’t want certain things, but these conversations are going on in the room now, where it used to be taboo. You weren’t allowed to say that because it meant you were soft, that you weren’t tough enough.”
We’ve talked about the role that hockey’s brightest stars will have to play if hits to the head can ultimately be reduced and/or eliminated. Cammalleri’s optimistic stance on the subject complements Tampa’s Steven Stamkos’ insistence on making players more accountable very nicely.
This is, after all, people’s brains we’re talking about here. I think Cammalleri put it best: “Hey, we play a tough sport. But when it comes to the brain, let’s not be ignorant.”