The NHL Playoffs and Concussion Awareness – A Case of Bad Timing?

Timothy Epstein, a partner and chairman of the Sports Law Practice Group at SmithAmundsen, LLC  recently had an interesting post in a blog published by the Defense Research Institute that looked at the “unprecedented media coverage” around this year’s NHL playoffs and why that may be a problem because of increased awareness of the concussion problems in sports.

“Most of the commentary has centered on a perceived lack of consistency in officiating and enforcement, and of course, at the center of all of this is the League’s concussion problem,” he wrote.  “Last week, the League office drew heat after Nashville Predator’s Defenseman Shea Weber was not suspended for deliberately slamming the head of Detroit Red Wings Forward Henrik Zetterberg into the glass.  Perhaps heeding these criticisms, the League responded this weekend with a three-game suspension for Carl Hagelin of the New York Rangers, after he elbowed the Ottawa Senators’ Daniel Alfredson, causing a concussion.  Some commended the NHL for taking a tougher stance with the Hagelin suspension, but the repercussions handed down have been widely inconsistent.  Given that the League has been beset by concussion concerns with its biggest stars such as Sidney Crosby, and in light of the brewing litigation against the NFL by its former players, the NHL would do well to establish a consistent and strict policy with respect to blows to the head.”

The entire blog can be read at:

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