If the NHL is going to clean up the dangerous hits to the head that have marred the first few weeks of the new season, they need to get even tougher when it comes to supplemental discipline. That’s according to Bruins president Cam Neely.
Neely not thinks longer suspensions will help start to eliminate hits the head, but the Hall of Famer also thinks players need to take the responsibility as well. This all stems from Wednesday night where Buffalo’s John Scott caught Bruins winger Loui Eriksson with a high hit. That hit left Eriksson with a concussion.
“I didn’t like the hit,” Neely said Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “Didn’t like it all. Didn’t think it was necessary, obviously. … I”m sure the league will look long and hard at this.”
Neely thinks that the league has done a good job in its initiative to get rid of head shots, but he still thinks the league needs to get a little tougher on players in situations like these.
“I think the union and the league have to come together and say that the only way to get this out is steeper and longer suspensions,” Neely said. “You certainly don’t want to take contact out of our game — it’s a big part of the game — but you have to get rid of head shots.
“If you’re a player and you think you may have a guy in a vulnerable position, you may have to let up.”
That certainly wasn’t the case Wednesday in Buffalo, which is why Neely called for more responsibility from the players as well. With the instigator penalty now in place, it’s tougher to hold players accountable for their actions on the ice, but it shouldn’t even get to that, he said.
“Everybody’s been talking about this for year,” Neely continued. “We talk about it at the board level, we talk about it with the team, the players talk about it … I know it’s a quick fast game, but it’s happened way too much in this early season.
“I think that this is really in the players’ hands in my opinion. I don’t think coaches are sending guys out there and telling them to take guys’ heads off.”