The NHL playoffs are underway.
Here in Philadelphia, all the news is about the Flyers playing the Penguins. But even though the Flyers are up in the series, the news isn't all good.
There's been some cheap shots, some involving the head, and it's getting a lot of attenton including this article by local sports writer Sam Donnellon.
There has been a lot of controversy about hits to the head.
Some interesting facts:
- In 1968, Bill Masterton died from an on-ice brain injury during an NHL game.
- Helmets didn't become mandatory until 1979, and this rule only applied to new players who started their NHL careers after the rule was enacted.
- The last player to play without a helmet retired in 1997.
At the time, I am sure that many people were grumbling about how this would change the game for the worse. Now, no one would even think to play without a helmet. This just goes to show that rules designed to increase safety in sports don't necessarily make the sport less popular. Hockey is still a popular, exciting, fast-moving and hard-hitting game. I have found playoff hockey is the most exciting sporting event to see live.