Marian Hossa: Taking a Hit for Whom?

The Blackhawks' Marian Hossa took a blind-sided, illegal hit to the back of his head the other night, by the Vancouver Canuck's Jannik Hansen. Hossa lay on the ice for approximately 2 minutes, and eventually walked off into the locker room. He never returned for the remainder of the game.

This was at the beginning of the 3rd period.  The Blackhawks were leading 3 - 1, with Hossa scoring their last 2 goals. And if you didn’t see his last one, you simply missed the Hossa who could fly and move on the ice, in acrobatic fashion, like Michael did with a basketball.

The NHL, in their infinite wisdom, gave Vancouver's Hansen a mere one game suspension. How fitting, to continue allowing these blows to the head, with little repercussions to the perpetrators and/or the team.

Say what you will about how the sport of hockey is notably played, as in scoring “hits” on an opposing team player, or players literally dropping their gloves on the ice and engaging in a boxing match.

Ray Easterling of the Atlanta Falcons. Our own Chicago Bears' Dave Duerson. Then Junior Seau. All suicides, reportedly correlated with their symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). All career NFL football players.

CTE is commonly found in athletes playing contact sports, such as football, ice hockey, wrestling, and boxing.  Years of concussions, from playing their sports for our mutual enjoyment, produced  symptoms such as relentless headaches,  major depression, confusion, impeded speech, tremors, memory loss, and early-onset Alzheimers/ Dementia.

The NFL is theoretically paying attention to this phenomenon, but only because of the tsunami of lawsuits and economic consequences of pretending that those Riddell helmets really protected its brand. The train is comin’ on down the tracks, so get ready, cause here they come.

With this in mind, when is the NHL going to at least take a look at the deaths of its own “enforcers,” Derek Boogaard, Wade Belak, and Rick Rypien, who all died in 2011?  They had repeatedly taken concussions and “hits” to the head throughout their young lives.

NHL enforcer Bob Probert died of heart failure in July 2010. Probert donated his brain to CTE research as he declined mentally in his 40’s.  He  was the second NHL player to be diagnosed with CTE after death.

Does Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner really care?  Do the owners concern themselves with the mighty dollar?  Not until it costs them.  Money, not lives.

I’m a fan. I want to see Big Hoss keep playing.  I want to see more of those moves from behind the net, skating in and out between 3 defenders, and slipping that puck in the smallest of spaces, between an outstretched goalie’s foot and the iron holding up the side of the net.

Don’t make Marian another statistic.  Nor any other athlete who gives us their gifts of athletic commitments, regardless of how they will tell us they knew the dangers of their sport and made the choices they did.

I’m sure Rocky Wirtz, Blackhawks’ owner, has already told that to Mrs. Jana Hossa, and their one-year old, daughter, Mia.





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