First overall selection in the 2010 entry draft and Edmonton Oilers’ star rookie, Taylor Hall, saw his season come to an end much earlier than the rest of his NHL counterparts.
It isn’t over because of a dismal season that saw the Oilers miss the playoffs. Hall is out for the remainder of the season with a high ankle sprain. He wasn’t battling along the boards or crashing the net when he was injured. Hall was injured while falling awkwardly in a fight with the Blue Jackets’ Derek Dorsett.
Reactions to Hall’s injury have ranged from applauding the young talent for sticking up for himself to outright anger that he put himself in a position (or fight) that resulted in a season ending injury.
Hall explained, “There comes a time when you have to,” said the 19-year-old. “There’s nothing wrong with sticking up for yourself. Eventually if you keep getting hit and people keep coming in for you … it’s not a great feeling when you’re that guy that keeps getting rescued. I was just trying to help out a little bit.”
Hall isn’t the first rookie to suffer an injury in a promising rookie campaign, either. In 2008, Columbus Blue Jackets center, Derick Brassard fought James Neal, then of the Dallas Stars and dislocated his shoulder.
Should the NHL’s star players engage in fighting? Should Taylor Hall have answered when a guy like Dorsett came knocking?
Hindsight is 20/20 and the repercussions of losing a remarkable rookie in the wake of an otherwise unremarkable season for the Oilers may be small. There would obviously be more concern if the Oilers were a middle-of-the-pack team teetering on the playoff bubble, fighting to prevent an early tee time at the conclusion of the NHL season.
St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie Broke his left ankle in a similarly-awkward fall during a scrum this past November. The Blues charged out of the gates early in this season; they were rolling along as one of the top teams in the league with the best start in franchise history. With Oshie out of the line-up, along with several other key players, the Blues promising season began looking not-so-promising.
New York Islanders goalie, Rick DiPietro is maybe the best example of a player that simply should not fight.
The former Boston University netminder and former top-overall pick in the 2000 draft has played a total of 13 games in the past 2 seasons due to various surgeries and injuries to his knee and both hips. He also has a history of concussions. He’s probably the last player that the Islanders want to see in a fight. He had to be held back in a heated game against the Flyers earlier in the season.
You remember, it was the game that took a turn from chippy to out-of-control and ended with Danny Briere on the wrong end of the disciplinary system that sentenced him to a 3-game suspension for a shot to the head of Frans Nielsen after the puck dropped for a faceoff in the right circle of the Flyers’ offensive zone. In the ensuing scrum, Chris Pronger ended up grabbing DiPietro before he could chase either Briere or Dan Carcillo down.
There was nobody there to hold him back from going toe-to-toe with Pittsburgh Penguins back-up goalie Brent Johnson at the end of a game in early February. Johnson took down DiPietro, who seemed to be smirking at the situation, with one punch to the face.
Hindsight evidently isn’t always 20/20; DiPietro said he has no regrets, “I am sick of losing, our team is sick of losing,” he said. “You never go into a fight expecting that you’re going to get smashed in the face that hard with these kinds of consequences, but it happens. He landed a good punch and you move on. I didn’t realize at the time that his arms were so long or that he could throw such a hard left punch, but I found both of those out pretty quickly. It’s a tough game and it’s a physical sport. Unfortunately my face paid the price.”
Commonly seen injuries from fighting include concussions, fractured facial bones, broken noses, broken hands, sprained wrists or fingers, dislocated shoulders, sprained knees and sprained or broken ankles. These injuries are no different than the injuries that occur in the course of play in a hockey game.
Fighting is a part of the game for now, but is it a necessary part of the game for all players? Going one step further, is it a part of the game that should involve the elite players of the NHL or should it be reserved for the enforcers and agitators of the league?
The enforcers and agitators do handle the majority of the fights in any given season, however it is possible that by doing so they run an entirely different risk of complications that may not surface until long after retirement. The late Bob Probert was 45 when he died of heart failure in June, 2010.
Probert wanted his brain donated to science because he believed the head trauma he experienced on the ice had caused permanent damage. As it turns out, he was right. Examination of his brain tissue has concluded that he did, in fact, suffer from the brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. CTE is a progressive, degenerative brain disease that can cause dementia. As the name implies, CTE, results from repetitive traumatic brain injuries (remember a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury).
If fighting can contribute to the developement of CTE, is it worth it?
Disclaimer: Information on found in RICE & MICE on flyersfaithful.com is not intended to be medical advice. Any information or materials posted on the web site are intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, medical opinion, diagnosis or treatment. Any information posted on the web site is NOT a substitute for medical attention. See your health-care professional for medical advice and treatment.