"Blindside" Hits and Colin Campbell
posted at 3/9/2010 1:22 PM EST
Colin Campbell is the best man the NHL can put in charge of disciplinary action? The guy sounded burnt out and sick of his job during The Fan interview yesterday. No final decision yet but you can count on it being no more than 2-3 games and most likely no suspension (to be "consistent" with Richard's hit on Booth).
To me, he is attacking the Cooke-on-Savard and Richard-on-Booth hit (among others) from the wrong angle. To try to implement something about shoulders to the head would be a terrible decision for the NHL. Campbell mentioned how Ovechkin's hit on Jagr during the Olympics was shoulder to head, which he is absolutely right about. However, Ovechkin hit Jagr head on while Jagr had his head down. IMO, The NHL should never take away punishing hits like that from head on.
The key is not "shoulder to head" hits... it's BLINDSIDE hits. The NHL and its players want a clear cut decision on what is and is not legal. Well, it's never going to be completely black and white, no matter what rules they implement. However, I believe it would be very realistic for the NHL to add a rule or two about blind-side hits and hits to the head. Example:
"A player is responsible for that happens in front of him. This can be defined by stretching a player's arms to the sides, or, from a mathematical standpoint, 90-100 degrees to the right and left of straight ahead. If a player is hit from outside of this reasonable range (ref's discretion), the offender receives 5 minutes for Blindsiding if the ref deems it was a clear intent to injure. If the victim is injured on the play, the offender is charged with 5 minutes for Blindsiding, given a game-misconduct and an automatic 5-game suspension that cannot be lowered but can be upped per review. If there was no injury or intent to injure, the play is legal."
I know there will be arguments about this not canceling out the gray area. But, I have to argue that is significantly reduces an grey-area. Head down and hit from the front --> clean his clock. No talk of shoulders. This is about catching a guy from the side or back... places he can't be looking if he is, for example, shooting a puck. And even then, I think those hits can still be ok, such as a cave-in. It''s only a big deal to me if it was a clear intent to injure or the player who is hit gets injured. Also, make sure the call is named "Blindsiding" - this will make it clear to the players and fans what is being called there.
"If a player's head is exposed and is the center of impact from a hit, the offender is charged with a Head-hitting penalty. The offender will receive 2 minutes for ANY hit where the impact is centered on the head and 5 minutes, game misconduct, and minimum 5 game suspension if the player is injured as a result of that hit."
This is an easy addition if you ask me. I don't even care if it's a hit to the head by accident. If you are reckless enough to CENTER the impact of a hit on another player's head, it should be a penalty, whether the victim is hurt or not. I said only 2 minutes because the hit couldn't have been that bad if the player wasn't injured, but the NHL still needs to establish that type of hit in unacceptable - on purpose or not.
What do people think about this?