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.

Blackhawks make another change, fire Rockford coach Ted Dent

Blackhawks make another change, fire Rockford coach Ted Dent

Ted Dent was another longstanding member of the Blackhawks' organization. On Tuesday, he was the latest to be let go.

Dent, head coach of the Rockford IceHogs for the past six seasons, was fired on Tuesday morning. Dent spent a total of 11 years in the organization; he was the IceHogs' assistant coach for five seasons before taking the head coaching job for the 2011-12 season.

Just over a year ago, the Blackhawks gave Dent a three-year contract extension that was set to run through the end of the 2018-19 season.

"The Chicago Blackhawks thank Ted for all of his contributions throughout his tenure with the organization," Blackhawks general Manager Stan Bowman said. "He played a major role in helping a number of players reach the NHL level with the Chicago Blackhawks, many of whom became Stanley Cup champions. We wish Ted and his family the best."

The IceHogs didn't have the depth this season they had in previous years, and they struggled all season en route to a 25-39-9-3 record. The struggles got worse after the March 1 trade deadline, when the Blackhawks sent Spencer Abbott and Sam Carrick to the San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate). At the time, Abbott led the IceHogs in points with 35 (15 goals, 20 assists) and Carrick was second with 28 points (11 goals 17 assists).

After the two were traded, the IceHogs went 4-12-1.

It's the second consecutive day in which the Blackhawks fired a member of their organization's coaching staff. Mike Kitchen, the Blackhawks' assistant coach since 2010, was fired on Monday. Kitchen and head coach Joel Quenneville have been friends going back to their NHL playing days, when the two were teammates with the Colorado Rockies and the New Jersey Devils. Kitchen was also part of Quenneville's coaching staff in St. Louis.

Blackhawks fire assistant coach Mike Kitchen

Blackhawks fire assistant coach Mike Kitchen

When Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman addressed the media on Saturday, he said that there would be change. That started on Monday when assistant coach Mike Kitchen was fired.

The move came five days after the Blackhawks were swept out of the first round by the Nashville Predators. Bowman said in a statement that, “we believe this decision is best for our organization moving forward. Mike had an impact on two different Stanley Cup championship teams during his tenure in Chicago. We appreciate his many contributions and wish he and his family success in the future.”

Kitchen has been a member of coach Joel Quenneville’s staff since 2010. The two go back to their playing days, however, when they were teammates with the Colorado Rockies and also the New Jersey Devils. Kitchen was Quenneville’s assistant when the two were with the St. Louis Blues and when Quenneville was fired as Blues coach midway through the 2003-04 season, Kitchen was promoted to head coach.

As part of the Blackhawks’ staff Kitchen’s focus on special teams, mainly the penalty kill. That kill finished the regular season 24th overall in the league, although that has to come with an asterisk. The penalty kill started the 2016-17 season so poorly that it was never going to get too far out of the basement. It did get stronger as the season wore on, and it was fourth overall during the Blackhawks’ short stay in the playoffs.