Head Check Rule Comes Under Fire

From the NY Times.com Slap Shot blog:

It’s just like the N.H.L. to pat itself on the back and trumpet its
great accomplishments, then turn around and stab itself in the back, or
at least shoot itself in the foot. It’s a pathology the league has
exhibited repeatedly when it comes to changes designed to improve the
game.

No sooner did the league enthusiastically approve rules to take out
the two-line offside pass and crack down on obstruction tactics at the
end of the lockout than voices were raised by some coaches and general
managers against them. Even today, some want to bring
elements of obstruction back into the game
.

The same is true with hits to the head. Oh, how the league celebrated itself for the
progressive half-step of outlawing blindside or lateral head shots! But
as soon as players actually started being penalized and even (gasp!) suspended
under new Rule 48, the inevitable whining commenced how this hit or
that hit really wasn’t what the rule intended to prohibit and if this
keeps up, body contact — which the league says has never been more
prevalent nor violent — will be threatened with extinction.

The most recent protesters are the San Jose Sharks, who just couldn’t
fathom that this hit by Joe Thornton on the Blues’ David Perron (video) violated the rule. Thornton got a major and game misconduct, as the rule
calls for, and was suspended two games, which was appealed by the
Sharks. The league denied the appeal.

The
Sharks contended
that what Thornton did was exactly what Willie
Mitchell, then of the Canucks, did to the Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews
last year (video) an incident that was shown on the league’s video to the clubs on what is
and what is not permissible under the new rule. But that was rejected
by the league? Why? Because Thornton didn’t do exactly what
Mitchell did. On Mitchell’s hit, Toews’s head was not the principle
point of contact.

Continue reading “The Morning Skate: Head Check Rule Comes Under Fire.” >>

21 Comments

  1. CharlottetownHabbies says:

    Why should we care what happens to the players if the players don’t care what happens to the players?

     

    We need to stop thinking of them as people at this point.  All pro athletes are getting pretty close to being wrastlin’ stars, just entertainment pawns for owners profit and our pleasure.  Pretty well paid, adult pawns too…..

  2. Julie H says:

    I don’t understand why the headshot thing has become such a grey issue. In the NFL it’s pretty black and white: you try to hurt someone, you pay the price. Just because Brian Burke and Don Cherry glorify and encourage violence doesn’t mean the rest of the NHL has to sit idly by while the statistics on head injuries keep producing staggeringly ugly numbers week after week. I forget where I read it but there should be a catalog of repeat offenders and certain punishments. Three strikes and you’re out seems pretty fair to me. 

    “I know you’re wise beyond your years, but do you ever get the fear that your perfect verse is just a lie you tell yourself to help you get by?”


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