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Friedman: Referees will be looking for “headsnaps”

Oct 17, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

Vancouver Canucks left wing Alex Burrows (14) celebrates with goalie Roberto Luongo after the Canucks beat the Nashville Predators in overtime of Game 3 in a second-round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey series on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. The Canucks won 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

The Vancouver Canucks should probably take note of thought No. 23 in Elliotte Friedman’s latest “30 thoughts” column.

23. Referees were also told to look for “headsnaps” — basically, players faking head contact to draw a penalty.

To illustrate what Friedman’s referring to, here’s video of Roberto Luongo snapping his head back against the Predators in last year’s playoffs. Nashville’s Jerred Smithson received a high-sticking minor on the play and Vancouver scored with the resultant man advantage.

Alex Burrows might have pulled that move a few times as well. Although in fairness, he could be one of those guys that doesn’t like anything getting close to his eyes. Gets all flinchy and stuff. Can’t blame him for that. It’s a psychological condition.

  1. angleofdarkness - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Tough rule to fairly enforce. I play ball hockey and snapping your head back when a stick/ball/hockey glove swings close to your eyes is a good way to prevent yourself from getting hurt.

  2. wombat2thereturn - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    this is another gray hole the league is digging for itself.

    ok, sometimes guys will fake this, but other times as the previous comment says, it’s an instinctive thing, you perceive danger to the face/head and instantly move your head to avoid. it’d be a pretty good referee who could distinguish between the two.

    i predict controversy, accusations of blown calls, accusations of canuck players embellishing, and don cherry ranting against guys who snap their heads.

  3. hibackhand - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Don Cherry: “those head-snapping pukes!”

    Thing is; if you get whacked in the face, the pain hits a second later sometimes and then you react. I agree it’s a tough one to police. It would have to be pretty flagrant.

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