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Proteau's Blog: Tough losses

• I thought Bryan Murray was doing more than a bit of posturing when he complained in the regular season about Sidney Crosby's potty mouth. But I couldn't agree more with the Senators coach regarding what to do about the preponderance of head injuries this year, including the one Patrick Eaves suffered at the hands (shoulder?) of Penguins winger Colby Armstrong in Game 3.

“I think that something has to be done about guys who get hit in the head, whether it be an Ottawa player doing the hitting or otherwise,” Murray told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Monday. “I'm sure the league, after this year and after the attention that's been given to it, will address the issue.

“If you mandate that you can't hit people in the head, then you get called for it whether you intended to or not. I don't think Colby meant to hurt Patty Eaves in that situation, but it happened and maybe if there were a league rule or policy, something then would be done about it.”

Exactly. When it comes to hits to the head, the league and officials need to work under a zero-tolerance policy. We don't have an endless supply of talented hockey players to continue replacing the ones we cart off on a stretcher.

• Speaking of zero tolerance, I've reached my limit with Hockey Night In Canada's white-glove scrutiny NHL officials, chronicled very well by the Globe And Mail's William Houston Tuesday.

It's not as if Ron McLean shouldn't have every right to voice his opinion, but I presumed that, after Stephen Walkom allowed him to referee a pre-season game last fall, the HNIC host would have a better appreciation for the difficult jobs done by the zebras. Sure doesn't seem that way, does it?

• For my first few years at The Hockey News, I wrote the “Backchecking” column (a where-are-they-now? weekly piece). One of the nicest guys I ever had the privilege of speaking with was Gaetan Duchesne, who died Monday at age 44. My sincere condolences to his family.


Now I'm all for the league trying to solve the issue of blows to the head, but I find it very hypocritical that Bryan Murray starts sounding off on the issue after Eaves got hurt. He was singing a very different tune when Chris Neil hit Chris Drury with his so-called "legal" hit to the head. It's a shame that Neil's hit was defended by Murray, but Armstrong's needs to be addressed - funny, but I don't see the difference.

- Brian

So Bryan Murray wants to look at hits to the head? Hm, what's changed in the last couple days? Murray's stand is completely hypocritical, particularly given that Armstrong's hit is indisputably clean, when Neil's was at best borderline dirty. I think it's telling that Eaves' helmet stayed on and he was still concussed - perhaps it has more to do with blows to the head rather than chinstraps, Bryan?

- Dan

Sick of the ref rants? Give me a break. The officiating has been terrible all season long. Soft calls to one team, ignoring blatant calls on the opposition in the same game too many times to count. Give Hockey Night In Canada some credit, they do their best not to say anything but when the calls stink, they should be pointing them out. There is no other recourse for poor officiating and it's about time it was exposed for the gong show that it is.

- Brad Letain

Get your facts straight on the Bryan Murray stance gentlemen. Here's his quote the next day on the Armstrong hit.... "I read all the articles when Chris Neil hit Chris Drury and it was the same type of hit," Murray said. "It was a kid trying to make contact. [Eaves] had his head down a little bit. He got driven with the shoulder, that's part of hockey. "I feel bad with [Eaves] getting hurt the way he did and I know you'll write extensive articles about how tough Armstrong was and how that shouldn't be allowed," Murray continued, "but we felt the same way when Neil hit Drury. It was a fair hit, a hockey hit and we live with it accordingly."

- Sean Milligan

The "hit" to the head of Patrick Eaves at the shoulders of Colby Armstrong was correctly called on the ice. It was not an illegal hit at all and Eaves simply got blind-sided. The look on Armstrong's face as they wheeled Eaves off the ice said it all- it was clearly not intentional. In youth hockey, they teach you to skate with your head up and look around at all times. Eaves failed to do this, just as Lindros failed to do with Scott Stevens and Umberger forgot to do with Brian Campbell last year. Accidents will happen- and they will sometimes involve the head- so get used to it!

- David LeRoy


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