September 7, 2017

The Most Anticipated New Hockey Book Of The Season

As hockey books begin hitting store shelves, a common question I've been getting is this:

Which new hockey book are you looking forward to the most?

The answer is unequivocally Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador and the Future of Hockey by Ken Dryden

Earlier this year I wondered what Dryden, hockey's most interesting man, was up to. Then came word of this ever so promising title.

The former Hall of Fame goaltender - recently named as one of the top 100 NHL players of all time - turned author/educator/Toronto Maple Leafs executive/politician has not been heard from a lot since losing his seat and federal cabinet position in 2011. He has been teaching a Canadian Studies course at McGill University in Montreal since.

But he has also been working on the new book about Montador, concussions and the future of hockey.

Dryden, of course, is noted author. He is most famous for his 1983 book The Game, which was both a commercial and especially a critical success. He also wrote Home Game and Faceoff at the Summit, as well as three non-hockey related books.

I have yet to see anything on Game Change, but this could be his most important text to date.

Obviously concussions in hockey are a big deal, and the pending lawsuit by former players threatens to change the way the game is played forever. The thing the powers that be in the hockey world need to realize is if they are not careful the lawmakers will change things instead of the hockey people.

So the hockey people need to be proactive, and Dryden looks like he will lead the way his blue print.

Equipment changes are always possible. Penalties for any direct head shot are to be enforced and strict. The elimination of fighting. These are all likely in the book.

But the ultimate game change will be in the mindset we use to approach physical play. Ultimately that may take a generation or two to achieve.

I do hope that Dryden comments on how to change bodychecking. Before the 1970s bodychecking was always condoned as long as the defending player was attempting to retrieve the puck on the play. Too often since the 1970s bodychecking is used to physically intimidate while removing the player from the puck, but leaving the puck for others to retrieve. Bodychecking should be enforced where the impeding player is still trying to get the puck while making physical contact.

This would allow for a cleaner hockey game to be played, though I do not know if it would have any result on the concussion problem itself. Presumably it would, but people far smarter than I would be able to decipher that.


Greg Oliver September 7, 2017 at 4:50 PM  

I'm about halfway through it. It's great when it's about Montador.

Nick Murray,  September 7, 2017 at 11:52 PM  

When was the last time you saw a charging penalty? Two steps and a concussions!

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