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Canada's winter sport going "soft"

By Kayla Allen

Canada’s national game of hockey is getting warped into a total replica of Europe’s take on the sport.

When the NHL announced that they had created the new ‘Head Shot Rule’ or made huge changes to the rule governing hits to the head (Rule 48) at the beginning of the 2011 hockey season, Canadian hockey fans didn’t know how to react. The thoughts going through my head were that I really hope this doesn’t change the way Canadians hockey.

The game in North America is becoming ‘soft’. Good old rough and tough hockey players are now a dying breed in the NHL. Players like Colton Orr from the Toronto Maple Leafs are getting sent down to play in the American Hockey League because, “there doesn’t appear to be much need for players like him in today’s game,” said Brian Burke, Maple Leafs general manager.

Sticking up for your teammates is no longer acceptable in the NHL. Staring at a teammate after they get hit is now the right thing to do. Watching this on TV is absolutely mind-boggling and disappointing.  I feel that I’m watching a game between Russia and Sweden, where bailing on a hit is the norm.

Changing this one rule is drastically affecting the flow of the game. It’s cutting down on the physical play and promoting the fancy hands of the Europeans. Slowly but surely, the ‘fighter’ on every team in the NHL will be sent down to the American Hockey League. “To me, it’s a dangerous turn in our game,” said Burke.

With the game slowly changing in a negative way, the opportunity for chippy play has now become more obvious. While watching a NHL game now, you see more of the cheap shots and dangerous hits that are outrageous.  NHL players who are all for the new style of hockey mostly falls under the category of the European style players.

“These guys that won’t back it up, won’t drop their gloves, run around and elbow people in the head and hit people from behind. They never have to answer for that in the game; they used to have to answer for that in the game. The players (used to) police the game and now it’s Brendan Shanahan,” said Burke on TSN.