Monday evening I attended the first OKC Barons Weekly radio broadcast featuring the voice of the Barons Jim Byers and his guests Coach Todd Nelson and Bryan Helmer. It will be a weekly radio broadcast at Buffalo Wild Wings on N.W. Expressway at 6 p.m. every Monday night. Jim Byers talked hockey, hockey history and Barons’ hockey with Coach Nelson and returning player and now Captain, Bryan Helmer. Particularly interesting were Nelson’s and Helmer’s comments on hockey in Oklahoma. If you have a chance, stop by and attend one of the broadcasts! I highly recommend it.
There is an incredible amount of ongoing dialogue as a result of the new rule changes in the NHL and the suspensions that have come as a result. Many — and this includes me — view the changes as positive and believe the suspensions will taper off once players have had time to adjust the way they play and hit. What has bothered me is that some are taking this opportunity to either misunderstand what is happening, or they are promoting their own agenda, and as a result are incorrectly stating that the NHL is trying to eliminate all hits. What foolishness. What is being eliminated are the dangerous and potentially life threatening boarding checks and those hits directly targeting the head.
It is truly sad to see well-known sports commentators like Don Cherry and Mike Milbury speak up for dangerous hits. We no longer live in a world of slap shot hockey. Long gone are the days of “Come to the fights and watch a Rockies game break out!” Hockey has evolved a great deal since either one of these men played or coached. It is time for Cherry and Milbury to either evolve with the game, or depart. CBC and NBC, it is time to hire commentators who are able to talk intelligently about today’s hockey.