2010-2011 Head Shot Rule

The NHL released a video to all 30 clubs today outlining the new head shot rule, as well as clarifying rules for other forms of contact. I love that they did this, and I love that the NHL made the video public so the entire fan base can inform themselves on these rules.

Illegal Check to the Head: A lateral or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted an/or the principal point of contact is not permitted

What took so long NHL? Finally, the debate that should never have been a debate to begin with is resolved. No discussions, no guess-work…you blindly¬† hit the head, you’re out. Very clear, very simple.

In the plethora of examples shown in the video, every single player had their hands or elbows up and were clearly coming from the blindside — meaning the puck-carrier had no idea they were about to get their world rocked! The responsibility is clearly on the offending player to ensure they don’t injure their fellow player.

That same logic has been applied to high sticking for years. It’s your stick, you are responsible for not smacking someone in the face with it. Why it took so long for the NHL to tell players they were equally responsible for ensuring they don’t run someone’s head off is beyond me.

I like that the NHL also showed examples of legal hits. Often as fans, when we see a player on our team get hit, we are automatically out of our seats calling for blood. This video shows some great examples of legal hits where the onus was on the puck carriers to be aware of their surroundings.

Contact during Icing

Again, I’m glad the NHL addressed this. I am a big fan of no-touch icing, or the hybrid icing that was tested during the NHL’s R&D camp this summer. Too often players who are clearly at the puck first end up injured by an opposing player using contact for no reason. Mathieu Schneider in the 2009 playoffs comes to mind immediately. The shoulder injury he suffered against Boston while chasing down an icing basically ended his career.

Final Notes

How embarrassed are the offending players in this video?…and no matter how many times I see the Cooke hit on Savard, it doesn’t get any easier to stomach. Nevermind the fact that it was recently reported that Marc Savard is unable to participate in training camp due to a reemergence of concussion-like systems.

What’s the deal with the music? While I do enjoy a shredding guitar every now and then, it did seem like an odd choice considering the principal purpose of this video was professional and not entertainment.

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