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Lupul: Shoulder hits to head just a part of hockey

Mar 9, 2010, 2:48 PM EST

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Everyone is weighing in on the issue of hits to the head, with most
in the camp — including me — that believes that any and all hits to
the head should be illegal. This includes direct shoulder hits to the
head, such as the Mike Richards hit and the latest transgression by Matt
Cooke.

Count Anaheim Ducks winger Joffrey Lupol as someone who doesn’t want the NHL to
go in that direction.
From Lupul’s twitter feed
(and it must be noted that this is NOT a
verified Twitter account, but it certainly seems legit) –

Hitting people in
the head w/ ur shoulder is part of NHL hockey. We’re big boys. Discuss..

…but the game moves
fast out there. Late hits should be punished. Shoulder hits should not
IMO

My point is it’s a
split second decision and we don’t want to lose hitting from the
game.As a player I hate seeing injuries but..

Lupul’s
point about late hits is interesting, since that is part of the issue
surrounding the Cooke and Richards hits. It’s not just the fact that the
hits were directly to the head, it’s that they were blind-side hits
that caught the injured players vulnerable and exposed well after
releasing the puck. That there was direct contact with the head just
adds to the debate.

I understand what Lupul is trying to say, that we should not
be trying to take hitting out of the NHL. I don’t think anybody is
wanting that to happen, but at the same time there has to be a way to
protect the players better. This isn’t just a matter of someone breaking
a bone or tearing a ligament in their knee — concussions can have
lasting effects that a player will have to deal with years after the
original injury. Just ask Mike Smith.

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