Mar 26, 2010, 3:30 PM EDT
I don’t think the great David Simon could create drama quite like
On Thursday night the NHL and the NHLPA agree to institute a
new ‘rule’ that gives the league the ability to actually punish for
blind-sided hits to the head. The consensus was that this is at least a
move in the right direction for the NHL, but there’s still concern over a
number of other dangerous hits plaguing the NHL.
Such as the one
that sent David Booth to the hospital for the second time in five
months, on the exact same night the NHL put the new rule into effect. If
you haven’t seen it (here’s the video) Booth gets rocked by Jaroslav
Spacek as he entered the zone, as Spacek catches Booth looking down and
slams him square in the chest. His shoulder also hit Booth squarely in
the chin, knocking him out and to the ice. Again.
The hit was
completely legal. There’s not even any debate about it.
we have cries of “It’s not enough!” In the wake of last night’s
devastating hit, now we get to talk about the merits of making any and
all hits to the head illegal.
But when bright young stars like Booth are being injured on these
types of hits, is it really worth keeping those hits in the game?
Moreover, given that blindside and so-called “lateral” hits are now
suspendable offences and by next season will earn a player an on-ice
penalty as well, isn’t the next logical step to say you just cannot
bodycheck an opponent in the head under any circumstances because the
danger is just too real given the size and strength of the modern player
and the fragility of the brain?
And we have this from Spacek after the game, per TSN:
“I tried to step up at the blue-line, he was kind of low and when he
turned, I was right there,” said Spacek after the game. “I’m not a dirty
player. It just happened. It was body on body. It’s too bad. You never
want to see that.”
The issue is now over the whole “he should have kept his head down”
mantra that’s pervasive with these sort of hits. The NHL, the players,
and most everyone involved in the game insists that they cannot take
these big open-ice hits out of the game since it’s such a vital part of
the physicality of the game.
It’s possible for a hit like Spacek’s to be perfectly fine; if Booth
was ducking, then Spacek’s shoulder most likely catches him square in
the chest. So who is at fault? The player that doesn’t adjust his hit
not to lay into the opposing player’s head, or the player who is skating
with his head down, or ducks into a hit?
The NHL will never be able to make a determination on ‘purposeful
hits to the head’ from the front, as there’s no way to say whether
someone intended to lay shoulder into someone’s chin.
What about players that turn away from a check while on the boards,
causing themselves to put in a vulnerable position and then be boarded?
It happened twice last night in the San Jose and Dallas game. If all
hits to the head are illegal, will we suddenly see players ducking down
into hits? I know it sounds incredibly stupid, but I never would have
thought NHL players would purposefully expose their back to a big hit
along the boards either.
I don’t buy the thought that making all hits to the head illegal will
suddenly make the NHL a league without big hits. The IIHF somehow
manages to create fun and physical hockey with all head hits being
Now that the blindsided hits are illegal, we’re not going to see
anymore of those. Instead, we’ll get a slew of clean, open ice hits from
And we can just debate all season long all over again.
- Report: Patrick Roy a candidate for Avalanche head coaching job 0
- Senators’ OT hero Greening had fiberglass pieces removed from face 1
- Discuss: Senators win Game 3 in double overtime 19
- Report: Kings’ Stoll may have head, shoulder injuries 12
- Rangers’ goaltending a concern? ‘We know what Henrik is,’ says Tortorella 22
- Discuss: Bruins find scoring touch in Game 2 win over Rangers 32
- Playoffs tonight: Spezza’s Game 3 return, Bruins-Rangers highlight your Sunday 5
- Penner blasts refs for having ‘gall to guess’ on goalie interference call 64
- Discuss: Sharks win in OT, draw series to 2-1 19
- NHL fines Sharks $100K for Torres suspension critique 45
- Alex ‘they wanted Game 7′ Ovechkin to address media today before heading to Worlds (110)
- Question for commenters: What’s the hardest team to support? (94)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Bryzgalov thinks Stalin did a good job, wishes Philadelphia wasn’t so old, and believes poor people don’t want to work (80)
- McPhee says lack of power plays ‘didn’t feel right’; Torts says Washington is ‘whining’ (70)
- PBT: Parker carves up Grizzlies as Spurs roll in Gm. 1
- PHT: Senators sneak past Penguins in two overtimes
- PHT: Bruins crack Lundqvist, hammer Rangers
- MST: No bumping on Bump Day at Indy 500
- PST: Arsenal grabs Champions League spot
- Ferguson's managerial career ends with 5-5 draw
- Moore stays unbeaten as Rays top Orioles