Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ugly stuff continues

Dean McAmmond was taken out on a stretcher in the second period after being on the receiving end of a dangerous high hit to the head from Flyers rookie forward Steve Downie during the Ottawa-Philadelphia preseason game tonight.

The underrated Senator had just released the puck behind the Philly goal when he was leveled by Downie, a former 2005 first round pick who is trying to make the Flyers.

It was determined that the 34 year-old McAmmond suffered a concussion but was moving his extremities thankfully.

If Downie made the Flyers, he'd be subject to a suspension pending a league review. The 20 year-old forward has never played a game for the club.

This latest incident comes on the heels of an ugly brawl during last night's Rangers-Islanders exhibition at the Nassau Coliseum. On one hand, diehards like myself love the occasional scrap. But much like what one of our other bloggers Lenny noted, when it gets that out of hand, it's embarrassing and a detriment to the NHL.

Downie's dangerous hit came at a bad time. With more and more of these types of situations happening in meaningless games this Fall, it might be time for the league to consider cutting down on the number of preseason contests. Especially when it puts key players at risk before what's a grinding 82-game schedule.

I've been on record as being in favor of seeing that schedule cut down a few games. But the odds are slim to none that the league would go from 82 to say 74 or 76. Especially with them reconsidering the unbalanced schedule and looking to insure that fans see every team in the opposite conference at least once.

They should also be paying more attention to these exhibitions which get out of hand. It's time to slice the schedule down to four or five max.

The growing question is can these types of incidents we're seeing an increase in be prevented? Yes. By making coaches accountable. Have them submit lineups that don't guarantee a melee like last night. What did Ted Nolan expect to happen when he dressed suspended forward Chris Simon who still has time left to serve on his suspension for his baseball swing on Ryan Hollweg?

There's just no reason for this stuff. It's one thing if it's a heated regular season game but quite another in a pointless exhibition where you're supposed to have players competing for roster spots.

It's time for the league to step in.

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