Awareness, stiff penalties leading to safer play

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 21, 2013
A year after his comeback from concussion-like symptoms, Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby is on top of his game. Crosby leads the NHL in points and says he no longer worries about taking another hit to the head. The NHL has taken steps to eliminate the kind of dangerous hits that threatened Crosby's career, and players say heightened awareness plus stiffer penalties have made them more mindful of how they use their bodies. While players say dangerous hits and concussions will always be part of the game, they see fewer elbows and sticks being used to cause harm. Cleaner play appears to be leading to fewer penalties too. Teams are averaging just 3.6 power-play chances per game, down from 5.8 per game during Crosby's rookie season in 2005-06.
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