Look out: Seabrook wants head hits punished

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Look out: Seabrook wants head hits punished

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011
Posted: 5:37 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com Blackhawks InsiderFollow @TraMyersCSN
Brent Seabrook has read the stories: former athletes, including hockey players, still suffering the ramifications of concussions and head shots taken during their careers.

We all want to have families and live our life after hockey, said Seabrook, who suffered concussions the past two seasons. If you break a leg or tear a knee, you can still live a life. But when youre struggling with some of the stuff you see some struggling with, related to heads, its sad.

Head shots, concussions and their long-term affects arent new. But the NHL is currently without its biggest star, Sidney Crosby, because of them. Hes speaking out against them. And because of that, Seabrook said, maybe the league will finally start doing more about them.

With Sid being hurt its definitely a bigger issue, he said. Its been blown up and thats the best thing for the game is making everyone more aware.

Its sad that it has to come to this.

Crosby, whos been out since January, is doing better but is still on no timeline to return. The NHL wasnt so popular coming out of the lockout at least in America. But along with Alex Ovechkin, Crosby was the poster child that brought fans back to the game. Now they need to help him and the rest of their players by figuring out how to cut down on these concussions.

It gets scary, said Dave Bolland, who missed a month with a concussion, courtesy of an elbow to his head. Sidney Crosby is still out. Its scary how long some of those things can take.

Indeed, the issue has everyones attention. Now what to do about it? Crosby recognized that fine line when he talked last week: you dont want to penalize a guy who just made an honest mistake. Seabrook agreed.

You cant protect yourselves all the time. Sometimes youre put in bad situations and bad spots, Seabrook said. The guy trying to do it is not necessarily trying to hurt you or knock your head off, hes just trying to make a hard play. The game happens to quick. Its just one of those things.
"We all want to have families and live our life after hockey.-- Brent Seabrook.
Still, there are possibilities. Do something immediately to the guys who take runs at players and throw elbows high, especially away from the play.

And penalize consistently. Remember the 2011 postseason? Several bad hits yielded little to nothing in suspension time.

There cant be different sets of rules in the playoffs or in the first 10 games, Seabrook said. There has to be a hard stance.

The NHL can start with the blatant shots: penalize, fine, suspend. And not just one game or that measly 2,500 fine that most players can find in the cushions of their couch. Make offenders accountable and make it enough that they stop.

There are enough sad stories out there. Give current players a chance at a happier ending.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Minnesota Wild tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Road warriors.

The Blackhawks have won six straight games away from the United Center, and are looking to make it a seventh in Minnesota tonight. They've scored the game's first goal in four of those wins, and in the other two, overcame 1-0 deficits to beat Dallas 5-3 and Edmonton 5-1, the latter of which they scored five unanswered goals.

2. Corey Crawford vs. Devan Dubnyk.

Crawford hasn't quite been the same since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 3, but he turned in probably his best outing since then in the Blackhawks' last meeting against Minnesota on Feb. 8 when he stopped 35 of 38 shots in a 4-3 overtime win. He essentially stole two points, and prevented the Wild from picking up the extra one. Across from him tonight will be Dubnyk, who leads the league in wins (32), goals against average (1.97) and save percentage (.934).

3. Jonathan Toews on fire.

After a tough offensive drought earlier in the season that lasted longer than expected, the Blackhawks captain has six goals and 10 assists in his last 12 games, and upped his point total to 37, which now ranks fifth on the team. In the last meeting against Minnesota two weeks ago, Toews had a three-point night and scored the game winner in overtime. 

4. Mikael Granlund among league's most underrated players.

File Granlund under the category of players who don't get enough attention. He has 17 goals and 36 assists in 58 games this season, and his 53 points is tied with Jeff Carter and Artemi Panarin for 13th in the NHL's scoring race. The next highest point total on the Wild is Eric Staal with 45, an eight-point gap between him and Granlund. The 24-year-old forward registered his first career hat trick earlier this month, and also had a 12-game point streak just two weeks ago.

5. Ryan Hartman's closing in on 15 goals.

In Saturday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton, Hartman defended his teammate by fighting an Oilers defenseman that was practically twice his size. He called it a "no-brainer" to stick up for Tanner Kero and did well in the scrap, but it led to an Oilers power play and 10-minute misconduct which didn't do the Blackhawks any favors. He responded in a great way Sunday by scoring the game's first goal that helped his team win 5-1 in Buffalo. The next goal he scores will be No. 15, which would give the Blackhawks six 15-plus goal scorers on the year. They had only four a season ago.

- Buy tickets to tonight's game

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- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

- NBC Sports App FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Blackhawks: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Blackhawks fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Blackhawks Pulse

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks battle Wild on CSN; UIC hosts Green Bay on CSN+

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks battle Wild on CSN; UIC hosts Green Bay on CSN+

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

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