OHL Rule Change

 

Following the tragic death of Don Sanderson in a hockey fight, long time OHL Commissioner David Branch announced a rule change last week to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

Sanderson who played defence for the Whitby Dunlops in men senior’s AAA league had his helmet dislodged during a fight this year and seconds later struck his head violently on the ice. This 21 year-old who was known by his teammates as a real character guy went into a coma and eventually on January 2 lost his life.

Even though Sanderson didn’t play in the OHL it served as a wake up call for Branch to insert stiffer penalties for either taking off your helmet during a fight or undoing the chinstrap.

Starting last Thursday, the OHL put in a new rule where a player will get a game misconduct and be suspended for the next game if they take off their helmets. Same thing goes for undoing their chinstraps.

Taking the new rule one step further, if one fighting participant takes off his helmet to do battle and the other player doesn’t, then that first player will be receive and extra minor along with the game misconduct and game suspension.

If the helmets become lose as a result of the fight then linesmen are now being told to break it up right away.

Previously in the OHL a team would be fined $100.00 if a player took off his helmet to fight.

Concussions have been a big topic the last few years and this now opens the eyes of many on the need to take action on helmets and headshots.

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He’s Back…Claude Lemieux

After tearing up the minor leagues for 23 games, Claude Lemieux got that magical phone call on Monday morning informing the pesky forward that he is indeed going to get another shot playing NHL hockey.

Proving all the doubters wrong, Lemieux who is 43 years-old used a strong work ethic and lots of determination in proving to the San Jose Sharks who signed him in December that even though he hasn’t played professional in about four years that he still can play and be an asset.

“The more I was told this was impossible, the more I wanted it,” said Lemieux after completing his first practice with the Sharks.

“I still feel that way.” “This is just the first step to life back in the NHL.” “I got into this with my eyes wide open, knowing that most folks out there would think that I’m out of my mind to attempt to do something like this.”

Lemieux who was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens way back in 1983 was known as a pesky player who played for the Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes and the Dallas Stars before retiring in 2003. Along the way he won four Stanley Cups and one Conn Smythe Trophy.

After going public about his desires to once again play in the NHL, the San Jose Sharks showed some mild interest and signed him as a free agent with no promises.

Since that time, he silenced his many critics by scoring three goals and 11 points and a +2 rating with the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League. 

 Among those who are surprised at the determination of Lemieux at once again being in the NHL is Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau who was a one- time teammate over 20 years ago with the Canadiens.

“You see Chris Chelios who is 46 now, but when you consider the fact that Claude stopped playing for three or four years, it shows the character he has,” Carbonneau said.

“I’m happy for him.” “I didn’t think at first that it would be possible but now we see that nothing is impossible.” 

Rick DiPietro Shelved for the Season

 

The New York Islanders brief playoff hopes took a huge hit on Tuesday when it was announced that their star goalie Rick DiPietro wouldn’t be back until next fall at training camp.

This former Islanders 2000 first round draft choice, who was tabbed as a future superstar has been plagued by serious knee and hip injuries ever since signing a much talked about 15 year 67.5 million contract with New York a couple of years ago.

“This has been one of the most frustrating situations I have ever had to deal with, but this is the right decision for me and the team,” said DiPietro who has played in only five games this season. “I am confident this will allow me to make a complete recovery, be ready in plenty of time for next season and compete to my highest ability for many years to come.”

In a span of one year, this 27 year-old has had to endure three operations including one to the hip last March and this past October in the knee to repair some torn meniscus. 

According to the team, DiPietro who has 117 wins in his career has recently been experiencing some serious swelling in the knee that has shut down the star goalie.

“After extensive consultation we feel this decision is in the best interest for Rick and the team,” said Islanders GM Garth Snow. “This will allow Rick ample time to make a full recovery for next year.”