Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Lupul: Shoulder hits to head just a part of hockey

Everyone is weighing in on the issue of hits to the head, with most in the camp -- including me -- that believes that any and all hits to the head should be illegal. This includes direct shoulder hits to the head, such as the Mike Richards hit and the latest transgression by Matt Cooke.

Count Anaheim Ducks winger Joffrey Lupol as someone who doesn’t want the NHL to go in that direction. From Lupul’s twitter feed (and it must be noted that this is NOT a verified Twitter account, but it certainly seems legit) --

Hitting people in the head w/ ur shoulder is part of NHL hockey. We’re big boys. Discuss..

...but the game moves fast out there. Late hits should be punished. Shoulder hits should not IMO

My point is it’s a split second decision and we don’t want to lose hitting from the game.As a player I hate seeing injuries but..

Lupul’s point about late hits is interesting, since that is part of the issue surrounding the Cooke and Richards hits. It’s not just the fact that the hits were directly to the head, it’s that they were blind-side hits that caught the injured players vulnerable and exposed well after releasing the puck. That there was direct contact with the head just adds to the debate.

I understand what Lupul is trying to say, that we should not be trying to take hitting out of the NHL. I don’t think anybody is wanting that to happen, but at the same time there has to be a way to protect the players better. This isn’t just a matter of someone breaking a bone or tearing a ligament in their knee -- concussions can have lasting effects that a player will have to deal with years after the original injury. Just ask Mike Smith.