Should the NHL get rid of doors on players benches?

The Hockey Central panel takes a quick look at Patrick Berglund's injury prompting the question if bench doors should still exist in hockey.

There was a bit of a scary moment for the St. Louis Blues during Tuesday’s Game 2 when Patrik Berglund crashed into an open door on the Blues bench and briefly left the game.

While he did return from the painful-looking collision after heading to the dressing room, it could have gone a lot worse for Berglund and the Blues.

The incident led to a conversation on the Sportsnet panel during the intermission. Should the NHL just do away with doors on the players benches?

“Do we even need gates anymore?” asked Nick Kypreos. “The way it works for those of you who don’t know, the line changes come from the middle of the bench. Which means that you’re hopping over the boards anyway and I’m sitting there going is it worth the risk anymore to have these things still?”

In case you think it’s an obvious and easy change the NHL should wait, consider that the league has thought about it before, but there is a reason to keep the doors.

“To your point Nick this did come up at the general managers meeting I believe earlier this year and the reason that they decided not to follow up and make any kind of rule about it is the skates are so sharp now you just don’t want them flying in all directions,” said Elliotte Friedman. “As a player you know that guys go off the bench next to you, they don’t want people coming on to the bench too. They just think it’s too dangerous.”

Kelly Hrudey cited a long history of injuries and near-injuries to players on plays just like the one that happened to Berglund Tuesday night. Hrudey remembered a former teammate of his with the 1984-85 Islanders, Greg Gilbert, who was coming off a 31-goal, 66-point season as a 21-year-old when he had a run-in with an open door that led to knee surgery. Gilbert never again posted the same offensive totals, although he did get back to the NHL and played in the league until 1995-96.

“Boy you just think over the years all the significant injuries guys had,” Hrudey said. “I go back to my first days with the New York Islanders and one of the most promising young guys was Greg Gilbert playing at that time on the top line with Mike Bossy and Bryan Trotter. He was able to get his career back on track, but significant knee injury there.”

What do you think?

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