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Another night, another questionable head shot: Ryan Malone crunches Chris Campoli

Oct 1, 2011, 10:56 PM EDT

P.K. Subban, Ryan Malone AP

Perhaps Brendan Shanahan will have some more work to do tonight. In Quebec City as the Canadiens and Lightning were doing battle, Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone caught Montreal’s Chris Campoli wheeling around the net with his head down, checking him in the head and putting him on the ice. Montreal’s Josh Gorges took up for Campoli dropping the gloves with Malone in a fight that Malone left Gorges a bit bloodied. You can see video of the hit here.

Shanahan has been more than doing his part to get things cleaned up around the league regarding head shots, cheap shots, and hits from behind, but he’s got a conundrum on his hands here. This hit provides for a bit more debate as Campoli appears to dip his shoulder at the last second turning what could’ve been a shoulder-to-shoulder hit into a shoulder-to-head hit.

Players do have to have more control of their body and how they dish out hits, but at this kind of speed and these sorts of reactions from players, can Malone be punished for a last second move by his opponent? On the flip side of that, Shanahan could rule that Campoli came around with his head at the same level no matter what and Malone could’ve done something to hit him differently.

One way or another, Shanahan will have something new to deliberate on. Tampa Bay won’t play another game until Friday night, opening night for the Lightning, so he’ll have time to get things sorted out. This time, Shanahan might have his toughest call to make in deciding how players handle themselves (or don’t) on the ice.

  1. stakex - Oct 2, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    Theres no doubt that it was a hit to the head, but its hard to tell if the principle point of contact was in fact the head from the camera angles in the video. It almost looks like he hit shoulder first, and then the head. Not to mention there is in fact a last second duck by Campoli.

    Side Note: Call me old school, but if your skating like that with your head down…. its your own damn fault if you end up looking at the lights. I’m all for suspensions for blind side hits to the head (like Matt Cooke on Marc Savard), but at a point players have to take responsibility for their own safety, and this is a great example. If Campoli had his head up, this hit never happens.

    • hank10 - Oct 2, 2011 at 11:11 AM

      Just ask Eric Lindros. If he remembers.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 2, 2011 at 2:04 PM

      You are old school. And you know what? You are right. Puck handlers need to be held accountable for their positioning on the ice. The NHL is now sending a message to all the amateur players that they don’t need to worry about keeping their heads up when skating through the middle. More people will be hurt because of the ‘head shot’ ruling.

      • stakex - Oct 2, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        Exactlly. Again, there is nothing wrong with the NHL cracking down on blind side hits to the head in which a player has no chance to protect himself… but a hit like this? It should be perfectly fine since the player with the puck has every chance to avoid it and protect himself if he has his head up. Your 100% right, giving guys the green light to skate with their head down (which is what the NHL is doing by banning hits like this) is going to lead to MORE injuries…. not less.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 2, 2011 at 9:27 PM

        And it will have a large affect in youth hockey. USA Hockey is following suit. Now you can only check in Bantam and Midget. And they are calling all ‘head shots.’ Even if the checker’s hands are tucked in. Even if the checker just happens to be taller. It’s tough for checkers to be checkers. And yes, players with the ‘Matt Cooke’ mentality deserve to be punished by this new ruling. I just hope the NHL (Shanahan in particular) don’t go overboard.

  2. lesleyvissersfacelift - Oct 2, 2011 at 6:30 AM

    I’m with Stakex on this one. I love what Shanahan’s done so far, but I don’t think Malone should be suspended. Campoli had his head down while skating up ice and it looks like principal point of contact was chest or shoulder.

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