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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Head Shots

Its an age old problem that has been haunting the NHL for a while now. It just wont go away, its that nightmare you had everyday for a month when you where 6 or the notion that there were always monsters hiding under your bed, these things don't go away without effort. Effort was something the NHL was not willing to put in to stopping head shots; they came out with excuse after excuse; The games to fast, players are bound to get hurt. It took the NHL's number one player Sidney Crosby to go down with a concussion in order for the NHL to act, and now their doing everything to stop head shots! At a time when concussions and head injuries are growing both in the big leagues but also with little kids!! The NHL needs to step up and let fans know that hits targeting the head are not permitted!

The NHL has replaced Colin Campbell (who thought anyone in a bruins jersey was exempt fro the rules) with long Time Nhler Brendan Shanahan. His first real impact was changing rule 48 to add that any hit targeting the head, not just a east to west moving hit, can be given a major penalty and be subject for suspension!

Now Shanahan will have 2 opportunities to put his new rule variation into practice!
1 Illegal Check To The Head — A hit resulting in contact with an opponent's head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted. However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was unavoidable, can be considered.1) a hit delivered from behind to leafs Darryl Boyce from flyers rough guy Jody Shelley. The hit broke Boyce's nose.
2) a hit delivered by Flames Letourneau- LeBlond on Canucks Matt Clackson this hit confused me a bit, but I will post video evidence of both hits.
I am not making this up for a story; Nick Kypreos, has tweeted that Shanahan will be having a meeting with both players.

The first one will be the Shelley hit on Boyce, since this hit is more clear to me :)
First off there is no doubt that this is a cheap shot. Boyce had just gotten rid of the puck and was totally defenseless. Second Shelley could have hit Boyce without driving his head into the boards. The hit was late and was absolute vicious, without a doubt Shelley was trying to hurt Boyce. I am fairly confident that Shelley will be suspended for this hit likely to sit the rest of preseason action, and some regular season games, Shelley just made himself the "poster Boy" for Shanahan's new rule.
Some other factors that go against Shelley; Its a preseason game and Shelley will likely not be playing in the NHL next season, Philly fans can't stand Shelley and want him off the roster immediately. Shelley did not do himself any favors with this hit. Shanahan has said he plans on giving stricter penalties for head shots, so now is the time for him to step up or shut up.
Right now Shanahan can set the tone for the rest of the season, if he lets Shelley go with no or minimal consequence, it will be another head hunting every man for himself type of season. If Shanahan lays down the law, guys just might think twice about hammering someone if their going to sit a good 10-15 games.

 The next hit with Letourneau-LeBlond, I don't 100% understand, I'll try to find a video, but most people were most interested in his marathon fight. Now if you look right at the BEGINNING of the video there is a little bit of a head contact hit, but I don't believe the hit was delivered by Letourneau- LeBlond, the person delivering the hit is #45 while the guy fighting is #24.
I did not see this hit in actual game circumstance, I saw it on hockey central when they said Letourneau- LeBlond, would be meeting with Shanahan for possible suspension. So this one I'll just wait for a verdict.

But I have uncovered a 3rd hit which I can hopefully offer more insight into :)
Unfortunately no public video evidence, But Red Wings Dan Cleary hit Penguins rookie Philip Samuelsson from behind with an elbow; Cleary was given a 5 minute misconduct penalty and is likely to meet with Shanahan at some point before the end of the week.

SO like I said earlier its time for Shanahan to Step up and make an example of players who target the head or are cheap shot artists (Matt Cooke) or shut up! Set the tone for the whole season right here right now. Help keep hockey a clean and exciting game for people to play and watch.
I'll have my Firday blog tomorrow with any updated punishment for the players if anything was handed out.

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