Skip to content

Video: Hard hits versus illegal checks, by Brendan Shanahan

Apr 8, 2013, 3:41 PM EDT

The NHL has published another video explaining its criteria for supplementary discipline. This one has VP of player safety Brendan Shanahan talking about the difference between hard, clean hits and illegal checks.

One clean hit that Shanahan showed was by Ottawa’s Chris Neil on the Rangers’ Brian Boyle in last year’s playoffs.

The decision to not discipline Neil led to criticism of Shanahan from various fans and members of the media, not to mention Rangers coach John Tortorella.

But here’s why there was no suspension:


In the video, Shanahan emphasizes that “the head needs to be both the principal point of contact and targeted,” and also that players need to be aware of their surroundings. Translation: If you’re going to cut to the middle while carrying the puck, keep your head up.

Maybe in the future all contact with the head will be penalized with no exceptions, but that’s not the case right now.

h/t Justin Bourne

  1. ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    PHT, you guys GOTTA do away with those expanding CSX ad banners at the top. they don’t work like they’re supposed to. annoying as all hell.

    • ibieiniid - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:10 PM


  2. jjregan21 - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    He can produce all the films he wants, it would take a cinematic masterpiece of endless length to try and make sense of his inconsistent decisions

  3. rsl22 - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Would like to know why Erik Gudbranson didn’t get so much as a phone call for his hit on Erat.

    • jdrew506 - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      Dont understand why that hit or the one by Del Zotto dont even get a call from the leauge, if nothing else then to say it was a bad hit dont do it again.

  4. hockeywithdrawal - Apr 8, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Rule 48.1a – Legal Check to the Head

    A hit resulting in contact with an opponents head, where the head is targetted and the principle point of contact, but the hitter can make it look like an accident in such a way as to be labelled as “good enough” is permitted and in some cases encouraged.

  5. jdrew506 - Apr 8, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Hockeywithdrawal yes that is the rule however every time the player has left his feet while contacting the head this year has resulted in a fine or suspension so why was Del Zotto’s different? Because he said he was bracing for the hit? He still left his feet and contacted the head with an elbow.

  6. JoeAvg - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    And it’s this kind of ambiguous explanation that causes so much confusion. At first he emphasizes that the head must be the principal point of contact and targeted but at the end he says the suspension was given not because the hit the head was intensional (ie: targeted) but but rather because it was reckless. So which is it?

  7. bubblehead22 - Apr 8, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    The discipline couldn’t be any more inconsistent. Del Zotto just another example.

  8. bleedbluebaby - Apr 9, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    This video still doesn’t explain how severe the punishment will be. The inconsistency of the punishment severity is the biggest issue. The playoffs last year were a prime example. Some players were only suspended one game where others 3 or more for seemingly the same type of hit. Neither one with extensive priors, but the only difference is the injury to the player getting hit. That’s such grey area there because some players are built to withstand hits more than others and that shouldn’t be factored into the punishment. It gives the smaller guys an unfair advantage

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1742)
  2. P. Kane (1286)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1140)
  4. S. Matthias (1101)
  5. M. Giordano (1002)