15 year NHL vet Paul Kariya announced his retirement earlier today after sitting out the entire 2010-11 season while recovering from the latest of multiple concussions he’s suffered. The former Ducks LW/C — who tallied 108 points for Anaheim in 1996 — angrily tells the Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek, “the thing I worry about is that you’ll get a guy who is playing with a concussion, and he gets hit, and he dies at centre ice.”
“If you want to get rid of it, I’m a believer that you don’t go after the employees, you go after the employers,” said Kariya. “The first concussion I had, on a brutal, blindside hit, the guy got a two-game suspension. That was in 1996. The last one, from (the Buffalo Sabres’ Patrick) Kaleta, was exactly the same play, and he doesn’t get anything.
“If you start at 10-game suspensions and go to 20, that sends a message to the players. But if you start fining the owners and suspending the coach, then it’s out of the game.”
Kariya went on to say that every hit that ever knocked him out came as a result of an illegal hit.
“Every single one,” he reiterated. “I’m not saying you’re going to ever eliminate concussions completely because it’s a contact sport, but if you get those out of the game, then you eliminate a big part of the problem.
“A two-game suspension? That’s not enough of a deterrent.”