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Let’s try to avoid making fun of NHL concussion victims (What We Learned)

Ryan Lambert
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Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

Everyone on Twitter has said some dumbass thing at some point in their life, but it's really starting to look like one group in particular cannot help itself.

Obviously, hockey agents have a vested interest in promoting their clients and those players' accomplishments. Thus Allan Walsh's praise of all things "Pavelectric" when the goaltender only gives up three goals on 24 shots in a game Winnipeg somehow wins. They're also very vocal — some would say annoyingly and obtusely so — in their support for the Players' Association during this lockout, and again, that's fair enough.

[The Vent: Fans vote against NHL lockout with their wallets]

But when you do something as stupid as Scott Norton did on Saturday, in the current NHL climate, well, that goes well beyond the pale.

It was reported over the weekend that Nathan Horton is now back to 100 percent and ready to play whenever the NHL is. This is of course great news for the oft-concussed and extremely talented goal scorer, who played just 46 games last year after recovering from a concussion given to him in the Stanley Cup Final by Aaron Rome.

The most recent head injury came from a headshot from well-known thug and Philadelphia Flyers player Tom Sestito.

Norton thought it was a positive as well.

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"Good news!" he tweeted. "Stay out of [Sestito's] way next time."

It will surprise you not at all to learn that Norton represents Sestito, in the way a mob lawyer represents career criminals.

Here, just to jog your memory, is the hit.

Without even getting into the semantics of the hit itself — except to say that it was clearly late, clearly blindside, clearly a headshot, and the fact that Brendan Shanahan didn't ring up exactly the kind of minimal-talent heavy it's trying to legislate out of the game is a joke — in what universe can anyone but the most shameless hype man think it's acceptable to make fun of a concussion victim?

[Sam McCaig: Hockey Hall of Fame candidates on the horizon]

Norton's argument to the many, many people who saw his tweet (including Joe Haggerty) for what it was, a low-rent mention of his lower-rent client, was that Hockey Is A Tough Game and, I swear to you, You Gotta Keep Your Head Up. But hey, it's good news that Horton's healthy.

Even if this had been a case of Horton not keeping his head up, and yeah, there are still plenty of those players getting concussions in the NHL at this point, would that have made mocking out Horton acceptable?

"You didn't keep your head up and got a concussion so maybe that'll learn ya," is just as stupid a thing to say. Especially when your client throws around hits like this.

This wasn't a case of Horton not keeping his head up at any rate. The only thing of which he is in any way guilty is not being aware that Peter Laviolette sent a gutless nobody like Sestito over the boards, and therefore that any play he made was just as liable to end up with him concussed as on this one. Because this is what guys like Sestito, and Zac Rinaldo and Jody Shelley get paid to do.

Again, the hockey world these days is, understandably, growing far more sensitive to the issues and therefore to act shocked that people are upset when you make something that can barely be considered a joke about a concussion victim is very strange.

Let's put it this way: What if a well-known Flyers blog had made such a joke? What if Don Cherry had done so? The reproaches from the hockey world would have been pretty harsh, and rightly so.

Norton says he's been at the side of players who have had to retire due to injury, so he's sensitive to the issue, but to act as though a bum knee is in any way the same as a concussion is ludicrous. Horton, who picked up two concussions in about six and a half months, has to know that every hit he takes to the head could ruin not only his career, but also his life in a very real way; he has front-row seats to the Marc Savard debacle and knows how real the persistent headaches and other issues can be.

[Watch: Goalies fight at center ice on 'Military Appreciation Night']

So for Norton to then say, "Hey what about all those guys Stan Jonathan injured?" as if that excuses his tweet or his client's repeated attempts to injure other players, is even more embarrassing.

To be fair to Norton, though, he apologized (to those who thought he was promoting his client's "work"). But when you represent guys like Sestito and Cam Janssen, maybe it's better to leave the jokes on the ice or, more accurately, in the press box.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Nick Bonino's killing it overseas, with 19 points in seven games. Granted, that's in Italy's Serie A2 league, which says to me that no matter how bad it is that Paul Bissonnette is lighting up the EIHL, Serie A2 is much, much worse.

Boston Bruins: The Bruins used the pick they got in the Benoit Pouliot trade to draft Seth Griffith in the fifth round, and so far it's working out pretty well. He has 27 points in 18 games this season for the London Knights.

Buffalo Sabres: Kind of amazing that Rick Jeanneret wasn't in the Hall of Fame already, isn't it?

Calgary Flames: Abbotsford might have lost to Oklahoma City on Saturday night, but it was in overtime. Through 11 games, they have just one regulation loss, but one suspects that it's because they're killing penalties at 95.7 percent right now, and have more shorties scored than power play goals allowed.

Carolina Hurricanes: People think Eric Staal is a fantasy sleeper this season? Are we really talking about fantasy hockey right now?

Chicago Blackhawks: Hey cool, the lockout could lead to layoffs for Chicago's radio and television broadcast partners too. Great stuff, NHL owners.

Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog got hurt in Europe. Cancel the lockout immediately.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Fedor Tyutin will join Atlant this week. Won't he be disappointed when the team's owners move them to Winnipe?

Dallas Stars: Brett Ritchie is having an okay season for Niagara. Another goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over Peterborough, running his total to 16-16-32 in 21 games, including 12-4-16 in his last FIVE.

Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: Darren Helm has a broken orbital bone, but thinks he could play right this second if necessary. Fortunately for him, it is not in any way necessary.

Edmonton Oilers: AHL leading scorer Justin Schultz was booed every time he touched the puck in Abbotsford, by Canucks fans mad he chose Edmonton over their team. Just to show them what's up, he scored the overtime game-winner on Saturday.

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Florida Panthers: Filip Kuba will be playing in the Czech league for Vitkovice and Panthers fans should hope he stays there so they don't have to keep paying for that silly cap hit.

Los Angeles Kings: Yutaka Fukufuji had a 22-save shutout for Japan in a 2-0 win over Romania in Olympic qualifying. In other news, Yutaka Fukufuji is still playing hockey.

Minnesota Wild: Prospect Erik Haula is off to a very good start for the University of Minnesota this year, with 11 points in nine games. Everyone seems to think this was a bargain seventh-round pick for the Wild.

Montreal Canadiens: Louis Leblanc is no longer a center. Habs management decided he'd be better served playing the wing permanently.

Nashville Predators: Scott Hannan brings toughness to the Predators lineup and not much else because he is too old to be any good now. Why on earth does Nashville think he can be a second-pairing defenseman in this league? He was awful for Calgary last year in the same role.

New Jersey Devils: Should the Devils be concerned that their former No. 4 overall pick is struggling mightily in the AHL? Seems like they should be, even if he is still 19.

New York Islanders: Jesse Joensuu has 21 points in 17 games in the Finnish league, which seems like it shouldn't be possible since this is Jesse Joensuu we're talking about.

New York Rangers: Speaking of Finland, Derek Stepan is off to KalPa, which, seriously, you gotta think we're just not having an NHL season at this point, right? But if Jesse Joensuu has 21 in 17, Stepan's gonna have that many in six.

Ottawa Senators: Even during the lockout, some teams are still being super-cautious about disclosing injuries, which is why Jared Cowan still hasn't come back from a "lower-body injury." Especially true since it started out as a "minor leg injury." It's spreading!!!

Philadelphia Flyers: Ed Snider says he's disappointed in the lockout. Man, if only he had the clout to do something about it. Jeez. How unfortunate that he has no power on the Board of Governors. Too bad.

Phoenix Coyotes: Today is Day No. 94 since Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Arizona said Greg Jamison would have the deal for the Coyotes sewn up within the next five days. And by the way, people in Glendale are pretty sure that the election of a new mayor there has a lot to do with the fact that the current one has wasted tens of millions of dollars on the Coyotes, so probably expect that to stop.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Sid Crosby thinks it would be fair to run a 60-game season this year, to which Jeremy Jacobs and a bunch of bad small-market owners said, "Whatever Sid."

San Jose Sharks: The San Francisco Bulls signed Ryane Clowe to a contract earlier this week, which is all well and good. But here's a thing Clowe actually said: "I honestly can't say that I hope to play in two weeks, or that I have a date. I just really have no plans on playing." Cool!

St. Louis Blues: In case you thought people wouldn't get all worked up over the performance of their favorite teams' AHL affiliates during the lockout, don't worry. This guy's really mad that the Peoria Rivermen. But I guess winning two of 12 games will do that.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Please ignore the fact that the headline on this story says the NHLPA is striking, and instead focus on the fact that Bolts ticket reps are acting as if the lockout will be over soon.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Mats Sundin said his favorite team growing up was the Canadiens. Get into that, Leafs fans.

Vancouver Canucks: Big mistake by Roberto Luongo not to make No. 2 the top choice here. Guy can't do anything right.

Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin called the owners "clowns" for trying to drive a wedge between the players and Don Fehr, which is more or less accurate, if inelegantly stated.

Winnipeg Jets: Jets prospects aren't lighting the world on fire in lower leagues? Hey, they're just like Mark Scheifele last year then, which means that as far as Winnipeggers are concerned, they're all NHL-ready.

Play of the Weekend

Not the bestest video in the world but a real nice effort from Justin Fontaine.

Gold Star Award

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This guy.

Minus of the Weekend

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I don't know who's worse. Gary Bettman and the owners transparently trying to get everyone to believe Don Fehr is lying to the PA, or the idiots who thought that could have been in any way true.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User "Flames rebuilder" has all the right moves.

To Van-
Jarome Iginla
Shawn Horcoff
Greg Nemisz

To Edm-
Jay Bouwmeester
Roberto Luongo
Zack Kassian

To Cal-
Jordan Eberle
Keith Ballard
Manny Malhotra
David Musil

Sure, why not?

Signoff
They're trying to make me pee my pants, but they're too late.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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