Vitaly Sitnikov Takes Skate Blade to Throat From Former NHL'er Ladislav Nagy Scar..."/> Vitaly Sitnikov Takes Skate Blade to Throat From Former NHL'er Ladislav Nagy Scar..."/>

KHL News: Player Takes Skate Blade to Throat

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KHL News: Vitaly Sitnikov Takes Skate Blade to Throat From Former NHL’er Ladislav Nagy

Scary incident on Sunday in the third period of a KHL game between Slovan and Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk. Slovan forward, and former NHL’er Ladislav Nagy took a shot, falling on Yugra forward Vitaly Sitnikov’s stick. Nagy’s skate accidentally came up and caught Sitnikov’s throat as he was falling.  The story broke on Yahoo’s Puck Daddy on Sunday. 

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This latest KHL news should hit close to home for fans of the NHL, with recent concerns over exactly what happened on Sunday. It was announced on TSN last week that the league has plans to talk about the recent rise in skates irresponsibly coming up high.

TSN even suggested players should begin to be penalized. It’s a difficult situation because the incidents are 100 percent accidental.

For those interested in viewing the gruesome incident of today’s KHL news, it can be found below. WARNING! This video isn’t for everyone. Graphic content.

We’ll never be able to completely eradicate these scary occurrences, as we’ve seen these incidents over the decades. Whether it be Clint Malarchuk in the late 80s, or Richard Zednik in 2008, sometimes these type of freak things can happen.

But just because we can’t completely eradicate the issue, doesn’t mean we can’t do something to address it. We’ve seen a particular increase in high skates over the past few seasons, that luckily caused little or no damage.

Could this be the result of past rule changes that makes players less responsible in one particular sense? Let me explain. As a child playing hockey, it gets ingrained into you, “keep your head up”. The rule is emphasized to its extreme when moving east to west in the neutral zone. Don Cherry had dedicated segments for the “trolley tracks” in his Rock Em’ Sock Em’ series.

But NHL rules have changed things significantly, as nowadays you’re hitting an unsuspecting player if you catch a player with his head down. Clean hits in the trolley tracks are virtually extinct now for two reasons. One, you’ve either need to drop the gloves because of the big hit, or second, the player gets penalized. More often than not, players are assessed a 5 minute major plus a game misconduct. By trying to protect our league from concussions, we’ve ultimately opened a new ugly door.

The game of hockey has been lucky thus far with these incidents occurring in leagues where proper medical attention is present. But what happens when this starts occurring at the minor league level? Players wear neck guards, but it only protects so much, leaving gaps that could make kids vulnerable. Teams carry trainers that are medically certified to handle emergencies, but the inherent extra risk is still there.

Perhaps by penalizing players for arrant skates coming up high, we can force players to be more aware and responsible. There’s a responsibility to protect yourself first and foremost in hockey. Even with the physical nature of the game, there’s still a responsibility to protect other players as well.

Next: Jonathan Bernier Back Between the Pipes

It’s not overly often that we hear of notable KHL news such as the story that broke on Sunday. There’s major significance in today’s story that reaches a global crisis level in the game of hockey. It was an issue we thought was strictly centered within the NHL, but recent developments suggest this is an international problem. Now we need to figure out the best way to address it.