Concussions in the NHL.  A growing problem.  The NHL has seen its poster boy, Sidney Crosby, sidelined with long term concussion symptoms.  But Sid is far from alone.  Concussion-like symptoms has sidelined too many players to count this season.  And as the number of players to fall continues to rise in record fashion, the NHL must come up with the answer to solve the problem. 

      I'm sure there are a number of things that will be looked at.  Maybe head gear should be at the top of the list, although I find it awkward considering the sport was once played with helmets optional.  That being said, I want to dive deeper into the possible answer.  There's no question that todays hockey players are bigger, faster and stronger.  They hit harder, shoot harder, and fly around the rink at higher speeds.  In a game that was already rough, these new elements could only make head shots tougher to take.  So, how can we take the game that we love and reduce these injuries without taking out the hitting that makes this game so great? 

     My logical, illogical answer.  Shifting to the Olympic Sized ice surface.  It's the only answer i've come up with, without sacrificing everything that makes the sport what it is.  The way I see it, as the sizes and speeds of players has risen, the room for them on ice has decreased.  Throw in the 2nd referee (which i absolutely hate, i'm a purist) and there's even less room for them.  The NHL could just as easily take the 2nd official off, yet give the linesmen the ability to call something if the ref missed it.  But to me, it would be temporary solution as the players will continue to evolve.  The illogical part.  I don't know that the arenas are able to go to that sized surface.  That's a huge stepping stone.  I miss the small Boston Garden and some of the old arenas that had their own unique style.  The bottom line is, if you want to keep the game the way it is, there must be some open ice to avoid all these run ins.  Yes, head hunting should be dealt with accordingly regardless.  But the natural flow of the game seems to be causing just as many injuries as the head shots. 

     I don't know that it's an answer best suited for the NHL.  I do know that something has to be done and more open ice seems like the only possible answer without restricting the hitting that makes this game great.

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