Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What can the NHL do to prevent 'dirty' hits?

Brendan Shanahan has had plenty of opportunity to exercise the power that his new position offers this pre-season, as Brad Staubitz, Jody Shelley, James Wisniewski and many others have already been suspended for illegal hits this pre-season.  Well, suspensions are fine, but the bottom line is that these type of hits are still occuring in the NHL on a regular basis.  I've come up with some options (and hi-tech gadgets) the league could have to eliminate dirty hits completely.

Option 1: Immediate payback - NHL jerseys are kind of boring.  They're not hi-tech or anything.  Well, here's the solution: install electronic springs into the back of players' jerseys with boxing gloves attached to the end of them.  That way, as a player approaches another player and makes contact, the player's jersey that is being hit senses the illegal contact and releases the spring, which then punches the hitting player in the face and wipes him out.  Problem solved.

Option 2: Multi-functional helmets - For those who might think the punching gloves are a bit "extreme," how about helmets that have rear-view mirrors?  Just as cars have rear-view mirrors to help drivers get out of the way of lunatics, NHL players' helmets should have rear-view mirrors so that they have time to react before they get drilled.  Players will be able to get out of the way just before the charging player flies into the boards and completely misses the targeted player.

Option 3: Warning signs - Another formidable possibility is for numbers on the back of NHL players' jerseys to be replaced by a digital monitor that detects how hard a player is charging the targeted player from behind.  After it has detected the force of impact and potential injury to the targeted player, a number will appear on the digital monitor, which will indicate the number of games that he will be suspended following the hit.  This all happens in less than half a second.

Option 4: Spandex torture - If the previous gadgets don't work out as planned, there is still hope.  After a player has distributed an illegal hit and is facing a possible suspension, the player will be summoned to wear green spandex suits and dance around the visiting players' penalty box during upcoming games.  This is how the Vancouver Green Men were formed.*

*Not factually accurate.

Option 5: Hot pursuit - If the NHL wants to go with an intimidating approach to eliminating hits rather than embarrassing, as the spandex suits could be, here is the preferred option.  After the ensuing period has concluded following the dirty or questionable hit, have the player stand facing center ice and then release the zamboni and have it chase the player around the rink until the ice is cleaned.  This provides the zamboni driver with a more entertaining job.  Note: This only works if the guilty player's last name is not Grabner.

Option 6: National pride - This option only works if the player is not a good public speaker/singer.  Before the game following a questionable or illegal hit, the arena should arrange for guilty player to sing the national anthem[s].  This can also save the arena money on hiring a singer, which is timely because so many NHL franchises are bankrupt or close to bankruptcy.  Also a good idea: the home team should make that night "earplug giveaway night" in order to keep fans' ears functional afterwards.

Option 7: Reverse steroids - Steroids make people stronger, which makes them more of a threat on the ice, so another solution to the dramatic number of illegal hits in the NHL is to develop a reverse steroid that makes players weaker.  For example, injecting a reverse steroid into Chris Pronger's elbows make him an ineffective player.  Injecting this reverse steroid into Alex Burrows' teeth makes him less effective on the ice as well. 

Option 8: Philly treatment - Philadelphia sports fans are sometimes a bit crazy, to be perfectly honest.  The NHL could use this to their advantage.  Any player found guilty of an illegal hit shall be brought to the next Flyers home game.  He will stand at center ice and will be shrouded in stink bombs (for those not familiar with this reference, please refer here).  After this painful experience, he will leave the arena and find that his car has been destroyed, due to the NHL placing a Quebec license plate on it.

Option 9: TV ratings - Another form of punishment to players, which serves as a threat, would be to have the guilty player's TV set to a channel they wouldn't normally be watching.  For this experiment, let's lock the player's TV to the Food Network for one week.  Note: If the guilty player happens to be Kyle Wellwood or a player whose diet resembles that of Kyle Wellwood, set their channel to a fitness program instead.  Likewise, Dustin Byfuglien's TV should never be set to a boating program and anyone on the Oilers, Islanders, Leafs and Panthers should be banned from the Golf Channel, because these are already their respective specialties...at least in the late springtime.

Option 10: Do nothing - Of course, if all else fails, the NHL could just sit back and do nothing, which would continue the league's precedent.