"I'm not blaming anybody, but I know firsthand a check like that wouldn't have happened 20 years ago because you know what the consequences would've been."
Brent's thoughts (more in the story at nj.com
) are actually pretty measured for a father who just saw what happened to his son. Tough situation. But he's only two-third's right. No, a hit like that wouldn't have happened 20 years ago. And yes, if such a hit did happen, there "would be consequences" in the mythologized tough man's world of good-old-days frontier justice. But the real reason this wouldn't have happened? Because (if I may mythologize myself for a moment) back before the roller-hockey proliferation of individualized hockey, no NHLer would have lurched forward with his head -- his most vulnerable part -- in a one-on-one battle for the puck and expected his opponent to somehow pull out of the hit.
Speed carries with it responsibility -- not just for the defender, but the attacker, too. Just because you're going really fast, doesn't mean it's everyone else's responsibility to get out of the way.
It's a gruesome situation. I feel bad for son and parent. But this one is a symptom of today's speed, not today's level of respect among players.