Who’s at fault?
Posted by Dean Holden at April 6th, 2013
by Chris Pryor, 27 March 2013
I’m well aware that the rules are ever increasingly trying to protect the puck carrier from dangerous hits, and rightfully so. We need to hold true to our rules and make sure we protect the health of the players and punish the ones that are breaking the rules. Fair enough.
BUT there also is a line between being hit illegally and putting yourself in a compromising situation. The puck carrier needs to be aware of the environment around him and when sensing danger, protect yourself. Human nature, correct?
Yes, the rules are there to protect you and the refs are there to enforce those rules. HOWEVER, we still need to be aware of what’s happening around us.
I’m not sure the game has changed all that much from when I played. I knew that if I skated around with my head down, I was going to get hit and I had no one to blame but myself. If I went in to get a puck and turned into the forechecker, I was responsible, no one else. When and why has this changed so dramatically?
Yes, to hit a defenseless player from behind should be punished harshly, but to skate through the neutral zone with your head down is no one’s fault but the guy with the puck. It looks to me that we are teaching or rewarding players for turning their backs to the play in the hope of drawing a penalty.
The young players of today need to be taught the correct way to play the game at an earlier age, so it becomes habit forming. To turn your back to the opposing player in the hope of drawing a penalty and putting yourself in danger is wrong plain and simple. We need to get back to respecting not only the guy with the puck, but also the guy without it.
Chris Pryor is the director of hockey operations for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is in charge of the amateur and pro scouting departments. A native of St. Paul, Pryor spent eight seasons as a scout for the Flyers. He played parts of six seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars and New York Islanders.