HBO delves into con­cus­sion de­bate look­ing for an­swers and next steps

The Hockey News - - BUZZ - Watch the full “On Thin Ice” re­port at youtube.com/HBO

PAUL MON­TA­DOR LEFT A last­ing im­pres­sion on Jor­dan Kron­ick with only four words. When asked about the NHL’s de­nial of the link be­tween con­cus­sions and CTE in an in­ter­view with HBO’s Real Sports, Mon­ta­dor sim­ply said, “The earth is flat.”

Some may have ex­pected more than the sar­donic re­sponse from Mon­ta­dor, the fa­ther of de­ceased for­mer NHL de­fense­man Steve Mon­ta­dor, given his 35-year-old son was di­ag­nosed with the de­gen­er­a­tive brain dis­ease fol­low­ing his shock­ing death in Fe­bru­ary 2015. But the an­swer’s sim­plic­ity and un­der­ly­ing mes­sage stuck with Kron­ick. “It’s 2018, we’ve seen this movie be­fore play out for 10 years with the NFL, and I think what Paul is sort of get­ting at is, ‘Come on,’ ” said Kron­ick, a se­nior seg­ment pro­ducer for Real Sports. “We delve a bit fur­ther with (him) on this sub­ject and he likens it to sci­ence deny­ing and cli­mate-change deny­ing.”

In “On Thin Ice,” Real Sports dives into the con­nec­tion be­tween con­cus­sions and CTE, ex­am­in­ing the ef­fects on all play­ers and pos­si­ble next steps for the sport.

While Mon­ta­dor speaks of the im­pact con­cus­sions had on his son, Hall of Famer Eric Lin­dros ad­vo­cates for fur­ther fund­ing to re­search di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment and Dr. Blaine Hoshizaki out­lines how play­ers sus­tain po­ten­tially per­ma­nent brain­tis­sue in­juries in each game. But the lat­est book of­fer­ing from Mon­treal Cana­di­ens leg­end Ken Dry­den (Game Change), an ex­plo­ration of Mon­ta­dor’s death and how the sport of hockey has evolved, pro­vides the most food for thought.

The be­lief of Dry­den, a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is the vastly chang­ing land­scape of the game re­quires the NHL to ad­just, par­tic­u­larly as the ever-in­creas­ing speed stands to turn for­merly in­nocu­ous bumps into con­cus­sive col­li­sions. “Be­cause the game evolves, the rules need to evolve,” said Kron­ick of Dry­den’s view. “And he says we’ve hit a point where the game is so fast that the rules need to now match the game and be changed.” – JARED CLIN­TON



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