Hockey World Blog

Penguins Go After Nystrom After Letang Hit- When Will Head Shots Stop?

Two consecutive days, two controversial hits to the head. When will this s*it crap end? We all know hockey is a dangerous sport and players will bang their head on the ice or have freak collisions like the one below and the one posted earlier today. This time around it involved a team missing the face of not only their franchise but the entire league because of concussion-like symptoms.

This isn’t going to be another Sidney Crosby post, but rather an example of a play that was made on the ice and a review of what the officials called in the heat of the moment.What was seen in tonight’s Pittsburgh-Dallas game was a collision between Eric Nystrom and Kris Letang.

Letang of Pittsburgh, already suffered one concussion this season at the hands of Max Pacioretty. And for those keeping score at home, it was Pacioretty who was on the receiving end of a nasty injury at the hands of Zdeno Chara March 8, 2011 where Pacioretty suffered a concussion and a fractured vertebra. It appears to be one long chain of several wrongs trying to make a right.

After watching the hit, I don’t blame every player who was on the ice for the Pens going after Nystrom. With what already happened previously to Letang and Crosby, they have had enough of the head shots and appear to take things into their own hands. Don’t be surprised if a line brawl occurs after a hit of this magnitude before Gary Bettman hands someone the Stanley Cup in June.

From playing the greatest game on ice for close to 20 years now, I understand how physical it  gets as I suffered what I can now say was a concussion 10 years ago during a collision at the net. If that happened to me now, I would have been pulled out of the game and maybe held out of practices. But because it was before concussions became spoken out of parents and coaches mouths more often than ESPN mentions Jeremy Lin during SportsCenter, nothing was done as I simply shook it off and continued to play goalie.

All in all, I hope Brendan Shanahan and the league takes a good, hard look at this hit by Nystrom and will issue some sort of disciplinary action. Midway through the first period, Nystrom appeared to hit Letang in the chest or shoulder. This sent him straight to the ice. He left the game, and the Penguins announced early in the second period that he would not return. Nystrom was called for a two-minute roughing penalty on the play. While it looked like a freak accident where Letang was at the wrong place at the wrong time, it sure did not look pretty to the naked eye.

Check out the video below and feel free to share your opinion.

6 Comments

  1. Scott Gardner

    March 1, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Absolutely agree. The league needs to do something about these dangerous hits and hold the players accountable whether there is intent or not just as it does in high sticking. When deciding when and how to hit at this speed, players of this level need to use their heads before concussions leave no one left in the game with the capacity to do so.

  2. Tim

    March 1, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I have watched this three times already and I still cant see why LeTang went down. At full speed, it looks like he never made contact to the head. Nystrom isnt exactly a dirty player. Maybe a stick got in the way or something. To my knowledge, no limb to helmet hit on this.

  3. EB

    March 1, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I don’t believe the head was targeted as Letang put himself in a vulnerable position. Nystrom could have tried to avoid it, which looks like he more so did. Personally I think Malkin’s stick work should be addressed. You want to go after someone for a perceived dirty hit, go after him face-to-face, not by sticking like a sissy. It be nice to see Malkin put in his place one of these times.

  4. TJ

    March 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

    hmm….”Letang put himself in a vulnerable position”…”sticking like a sissy”…”Malkin put in his place”. Pretty obvious your a Penguin hater (hence, you lose all credibility) Maybe you should imagine this video with Matt Cooke in Nystrom’s place and Alex Goligoski in Letang’s….I’m guessing you’re opinion would change

    • EB

      March 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      I actually have a lot of respect for the Penguins, and would love to see Crosby back in action as he one of the best in the league.

      As for changing it with Cooke, there may be an argument there as the basis of a “dirty player” is on their history. To counter though, I don’t think Cooke gets enough credit to how he has transformed his game to be a solid player. If there was an award for most improved player over the course of the year, I think it should go to Cooke hands down. Back to the point, Nystrom does not have a history and he himself had a head injury in 2008 and a broken jaw in 2008 as well; most players who have experienced such injuries tend not to target another player in such a way.

      My opinion does not change as I do feel Nystrom tried to back off. The pace of the game is fast, much faster than what even video can capture. Nystrom tried to let up and Letang was vulnerable. The two combined created the event, but to suspend Nystrom I think would be unfair.

      Would this argument be the same if it was a 3rd pairing defender…”I’m guessing you’re opinion would change”

  5. Cowboy Carl

    March 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    ^ EB is just making his point because Letang did put himself in a vulnerable position.

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