For Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos, season of concussions and head shots "scary"
Several months ago, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos said he did not believe head shots were out of control. He said the onus should be on the players to be aware of where they are on the ice, who is around them and the situations they are in. But Stamkos said Wednesday a season in which between 70 and 80 players have sustained concussions has become "scary," and he believes heavier fines and suspensions are warranted.
In fact, that is one of the proposals that came out of the three-day general managers meetings in Boca Raton.
"The league is trying to send a message," Stamkos said Wednesday. "I think that's what's going to have to be done at the end of the day. Guys love this sport and they play it because it's their job, and if they start missing time, especially significant time, I think that's when it will start to hit home."
Why is Stamkos hardening his position?
"We can talk about it all we want, but it just seems like we talk about it and then we go out in a game and you're in those situations and we're doing the same thing, and players are not realizing the impact. There are plays when you have to give guys the benefit of the doubt, where they didn't mean to do it and it happened fast. But for the most part, guys are realizing what they're doing out there. We need to make a change because this year we thought we were going to prevent it at the beginning of the year with some of the changes. But it's been worse. It's scary."
Even so, Stamkos still believes the ultimate solution has to come from the players.
"Too many players in this league are missing time," he said. "it's not fun. It's not fun for them. It's not fun for the fans. Obviously, we have to do something about it and we are and we'll find a way. It falls on us as players to show that respect for each other. It falls on our shoulders."