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Sharks Gameday: Disarming Bombs

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Obama offers his thoughts on the problem of nuclear players.

Barack Obama speaks in Prague on the topic of disarmament.
Barack Obama speaks in Prague on the topic of disarmament.

An excerpt from a speech by the head of the Nationalized Hockey League, Barack Obama, given in Prague:

"The existence of dozens of nuclear players is the most dangerous manifestation of the NHL's obsession with "toughness." The current generation of hockey fans lives with the knowledge that their team's most talented player could be erased in a single flash of elbow. Players like Dan Boyle who have played for decades, who embody the beauty and the talent of so much of humanity, could cease to exist.

In a strange turn of history, at the same time the league is becoming more concerned with head injuries, the number of dangerous nuclear players has continued to increase. More teams have acquired these players. They continue to be signed to contracts.

Some argue that the spread of these players cannot be stopped, cannot be checked -– that we are destined to live in a world where more teams possess the ultimate tools of destruction. Such fatalism is a deadly adversary, for if we believe that the spread of nuclear players is inevitable, then in some way we are admitting to ourselves that the devastating injuries caused by these players are also inevitable.

Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of players everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. (Applause.)

I'm not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly –- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the league cannot change. We have to insist, "Yes, we can." (Applause.)


But we go forward with no illusions. Some teams will break the rules. That's why we need a structure in place that ensures when any team does, they will face consequences.

Just a few days ago, we were reminded again of why we need a new and more rigorous approach to address this threat. Maxim Lapierre broke the rules once again by delivering a brutal and unsafe hit to San Jose's Dan Boyle. This provocation underscores the need for action –- not just in the form of league discipline, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these types of players.

Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. Teams must stand together to prevent the spread of these players. Now is the time for a strong league-wide response -- (applause) -- now is the time for a strong league-wide response, and the St. Louis Blues must know that the path to victory and respect will never come through players like Maxim Lapierre. All teams must come together to build a stronger, safer league. And that's why we must stand shoulder to shoulder to pressure the Blues to change course.

Now, I know that there are some who will question whether we can act on such a lofty agenda. There are those who doubt whether true league-wide cooperation is possible, given inevitable differences among teams. And there are those who hear talk of a league without nuclear players and doubt whether it's worth setting a goal that seems impossible to achieve.

But make no mistake: We know where that road leads. When teams allow themselves to be defined by their differences, the gulf between them widens. When we fail to pursue safety, then it stays forever beyond our grasp. We know the path when we choose fear over hope. To denounce or shrug off a call for cooperation is an easy but also a cowardly thing to do. That's how wars begin. That's where human progress ends.

There is violence and injustice in our world that must be confronted. We must confront it not by splitting apart but by standing together as free teams, as free fans. (Applause.) I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down. But that is why the voices for peace and progress must be raised together. (Applause.)

Those are the voices that still echo through the streets of Prague. Those are the ghosts of 1968. Those were the joyful sounds of the Velvet Revolution. Those were the Czechs who helped bring down a nuclear-armed empire without firing a shot.

Human destiny will be what we make of it. And here in Prague, let us honor our past by reaching for a better future. Let us bridge our divisions, build upon our hopes, accept our responsibility to leave this league more prosperous and more safe than we found it. (Applause.) Together we can do it.

Thank you very much. Thank you, Prague. (Applause.)"

Next Game

San Jose Sharks
@ Dallas Stars

Thursday, Oct 17, 2013, 5:30 PM PDT
American Airlines Center

Complete Coverage >

The Dallas Stars? Forget them. They're St. Louis's problem now.

As far as Maxim Lapierre and players like him go, I'll repeat what I said on this post from St. Louis Game Time:

Players like Lapierre and Raffi Torres are like nuclear weapons, and it’s time for all teams to disarm. Let’s load them all up on a rocket and send it into the sun, and I’m NOT speaking metaphorically here.

Prediction: The Dallas Stars get beaten so badly that they beg the league to move them to a new division so they don't have to play the Sharks so much any more. OH WAIT THAT ALREADY HAPPENED.

Video Gamery: My 76th-favorite video game is Mega Bomberman. I loved this game, and played it for many many hours. In a fun bit of coincidence, it turns out that Bomberman underwent a Matt Cooke-style reformation and today works passionately as an anti-bomb advocate.

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