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What Grinds The Gears Of Hitch's Hat

Preview a story from tonight's fan-run paper from @HitchsHat. Also, buy the paper.

Hockey hugs between old teammates.
Hockey hugs between old teammates.
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

So Gmail can sometimes malfunction. Our friend @HitchsHat on Twitter is now writing for our fan-run paper regularly now. He sent me his story in plenty of time. It's not in the printed issue because Gmail ate my homework, apparently.

Below this you get a free preview of what's in the paper. If you like it, maybe you buy it? You can get the paper outside Scottrade Center by the driveway to the Kiel Garage, just north of the 14th Street doors and at the northeast corner of 14th and Clark, just outside the City Hall parking lot.

And now you can buy it online RIGHT HERE. It's 24 pages of news, commentary, stats, jokes and even a puzzle and cartoon.

And now, enjoy some Hat:

Hitch's Hat

Welcome to Episode 2 (Episode? Issue? Installment? What the hell do you call these things?) Whatever.  This is number two. Maybe literally.

Robby Fabbri: Concussion. Paul Stastny: Broken foot. Kevin Shattenkirk: Pulled Groin. In my sights for tonight: Injuries. I get that over the course of an 82-game season, the fellas are going to have bumps, bruises, pulls and any of an assortment of minor maladies. Those aren't what I'm talking about. I'm focused on longer-term injuries. Particularly, long term injuries that really shouldn't be happening.

The first type, I really have a hard time understanding.  And a hard time explaining. Try and follow me here. In this day and age, athletes are better trained, have better nutrition and better equipment.  Teams have not only traditional trainers, they have strength coaches. Nutritionists. Massage therapists. Hell, even sports psychologists. Given this, why are guys constantly going down by injuring THEMSELVES? Shatty pulls a groin. What? What about all that training he got from that hockey guru trainer dude?

How does a highly trained, finely tuned athlete pull a groin? I mean, I don't have any evidence (and frankly I'm too lazy to do any real research) but I just don't remember so many guys being on the shelf with sports hernias, high ankle sprains or any other of the newfangled injuries born since 2000.  Maybe "back in the day" guys were tougher and gutted it out. Or maybe it was stupidity, it's hard to say which. With all the time the athletes spend training, and all the money teams spend on training, you think we could keep guys on the ice. Maybe we should go back to the Plager or Hull days of post-game drinking, smoking and summers off.

The second segment of injuries are those caused by careless, lazy, or worse, intentional plays. Sure you have your regular douchebags. Brent "Wakey Wakey" Seabrook, I'm talking to you, asshole. Raffi "Repeat Offender" Torres. But beyond your regular scumbags, you have just too many shots to the head anymore by even non-dirty players. Hell, Fabbri is out on what didn't seem like much of a hit at all by our old buddy Chris Porter. But, again, why are his elbows up at all?  Especially with the "league focus on reducing head injuries." (Cough...bullshit...cough)

Look, I'm sure you've seen just about as many Blues games as I have. How many times have the Blues been victim of hits ranging from questionable to blatantly dirty, yet never get a second look from the vaunted "Department of Player Safety." It's a lot. And it happens all throughout the league as well. It's not a Blues thing, it's an NHL thing. It's a joke, and not a particularly funny one.  I come to see Paul Stastny play, not Scott Fucking Gomez.

So who gets the blame? League President Gary "Stretch" Bettman?  The Player Safety minions? The NHLPA for not pushing it? Maybe all. Maybe none. It's a shame it has to be legislated at all. Where is the common sense on the part of the players?  Where is the respect for your fellow players?

Maybe it goes back to the end of the "clutch and grab" era. An era where goons were celebrated, the trap was trendy and guys like Barret Jackman thrived. The league then decides that it needs to increase scoring and focus on speed.  Oh, and let's further pussify the game by penalizing instigating. Possibly the single biggest mistake of the era of speed.

Why is that significant?  Because it has slowly removed the policemen from the league. Sure, teams still have "goons" but no longer in the traditional sense. Relics of the game have found that the only way to neutralize speed and skill is injury. Clean checking has given way to taking runs at guys. I don't know. I don't have any answers, but I can tell you that all these injuries certainly grind my gears.