LOOPHOLE ON THE ICE
In an attempt to prevent those bench-clearing brawls that have turned hockey games into circuses, the National Hockey League adopted some strict new rules during its Montreal meetings last week.
The first identifiable player off the bench will be hit with a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. Five-minute penalties must be served in their entirety; the offending player cannot leave the penalty box when the opposition scores a goal. Thus, his team will be shorthanded for five minutes. But a game misconduct means he cannot return to the game at all. A substitute must play in his place. In the case of a star player, that can be very serious.
Should the player repeat the offense in a second game, the same penalties will apply, but in addition the player will be given a one-game suspension with loss of salary.
NHL President Clarence Campbell pointed out that if so many game misconducts are assessed that a team is below playing strength, that team would have to forfeit the game.
It's a step in the right direction, all right, but someone has suggested that a clever coach—Punch Imlach comes to mind—might keep an old rugged retread like Reggie Fleming on his bench for the sole purpose of leading the charge. He would be banished, but the fight would be worth it.
TOO LATE FOR JOE
As Joe Namath can tell you, the incidence of knee injury in football is excessive and has been for many years. Now comes Joseph S. Torg, M.D. of Temple University's Department of Orthopedic Surgery, and Theodore Quedenfeld, Temple's athletics department trainer, with a recommendation, based on a long and thorough study, that just might turn out to be the penicillin of the knee.
They feel they have proven what has long been suspected, that "the cleat structure of the conventional football shoe is responsible for the fixation of the foot on the ground, with subsequent forces and abnormal motions transmitted to the knee resulting in injury to the joint."
Their suggestion: change from football to soccer shoes.