Concussions on rise says NHL commissioner

By Steve Keating

Concussions have dominated discussion during the All-Star weekend, ironically a light-hearted contest that rarely sees any form of hitting, with much of the debate centering around the absence of the NHL's biggest name, Sidney Crosby.

The hugely popular Pittsburgh Penguins captain topped All-Star Game voting but will not play in the showcase as he continues to suffer from post-concussion symptoms.

After revealing what he described as preliminary findings, Bettman immediately went on the defensive outlining the league's efforts to reduce concussions.

Bettman noted that a new rule introduced last March to eliminate blindside hits had been effective, resulting in a decrease in concussions from such blows.

But at the same time, the league has seen a significant increase in concussions caused by accidental or inadvertent hits, such as those that sidelined Crosby.

The hockey operations reports also noted an increase in concussions caused by fighting.

"Obviously this is an important matter and we have treated it as such for years and we will continue to treat it has an important matter," said Bettman.

Bettman said the league will examine the data but will not be rushed into making any knee jerk changes to the existing rules.

"Changing a rule that doesn't address what is causing the concussions may not be the thing to do."

(Editing by Julian Linden)