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How to hit, be hit a topic at summit

TORONTO -- We'll be back with a recap of IIHF president Rene Fasel's stern warning to the NHL regarding play in Europe, but first, a few other notes from the World Hockey Summit:

Is there a right time to teach kids how to hit?

Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette described what it was like having his two sons on the ice and trying to teach them how to hit and be hit. He thinks there needs to be a professional standard established at the NHL level and filtered down to various hockey levels, outlining exactly what is and isn't an appropriate hit.

"All NHL teams have to watch a video and sign off on the fact that they did watch it and send it back to the league," Laviolette said. "I think the same should be held for the coach that's coaching my children, that something should be put in place where the kids can watch and see what is legal, what is not legal, the repercussions from hits that can do harm to children and how we can prevent those and teach them the proper way to do things through a video."

One of Laviolette's sons suffered a concussion playing hockey last season and he thinks there shouldn't be full-body checking until kids are into their teens.

"As a parent, I can tell you these kids take all-out runs at each other," Laviolette said.

If you take two kids going 25 miles per hour "and you slam them into each other, there's a good chance that somebody's going to break a bone or somebody's going to get a concussion, so it happens all the time."

He suggested introducing modified body checking at the bantam level. "I do get concerned for my kids' safety," he said.

Just having fun ... remember that?

Interesting to hear Brendan Shanahan talk about being troubled by the idea of having kids play hockey year-round. He said youngsters need an offseason, a break from the game. "Make them miss it a little bit," Shanahan said.

He recalled his own memories of growing up and playing shinny hockey and tag on the ice. They weren't thinking about whether those moments were enhancing their chances of getting a scholarship or playing in the NHL, they were just having fun. No structure ... just fun.

Amen.

A path to the NHL

Tough-as-nails former NHL defenseman Bob Boughner joked Tuesday that it was hard to believe he was on a panel at the World Hockey Summit discussing skills development. But make no mistake, he was more than comfortable discussing the topic and illustrated how he's managed to turn a solid NHL career into a bright coaching/managing future.

Boughner recently left a wildly successful junior program in his hometown of Windsor, Ontario, a stint that included back-to-back Memorial Cup championships, to take a job as an assistant to rookie coach Scott Arniel in Columbus. Not that leaving Windsor was an easy choice to make.

"It was one of the harder decisions I've ever made," Boughner said of the move. "I always had a goal to be a head coach in the NHL, and although I had some offers to go to the American League and take over American League teams, I think I had such a great situation in Windsor that I didn't want to do that. When an NHL job came up, you know, how long do you wait to get to that phase?"

Boughner, who played in 630 NHL regular-season games for six teams, said he wants to reacquaint himself with the NHL and hopes his job as an assistant isn't the last stop on his coaching path.

"We had some success in junior, and really now that I've been out of the league for five years, out of the NHL, I need to get back in there and I need to learn the league again and I need to learn other team's personnel, and what better way to it as an assistant?" Boughner said. "I'm going to give my heart and soul to Columbus and try and make them a playoff team, but I made no beefs that I want to be a head coach and hopefully this will help me get to that stage."

He figures his own experiences as a player have been instrumental in making the adjustment to coaching and managing (he is also part-owner of the Windsor Spitfires). He thinks that experience will also be invaluable at the NHL level.

"I was a guy that had to work for everything I got," Boughner said. "I had to train differently than certain guys in the summer, I had to work on my feet, I had to work on my hands, I had to do the little things after practice to have success and stay in the league. I think maybe I can bring that to the next level.

"Maybe it's not so much about skills, maybe it's about work ethic and maybe it's about being a great teammate and accountable and all those things that I had to do to stay around. I think it's made me a better coach for sure."