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NHL GM’s propose that head shots be illegal

Brian Burke

Brian Burke, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, speaks to reporters after the NHL board of governors meeting in Montreal, Wednesday, June 24, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)


The NHL general managers have decided on their proposed rule change that will outlaw hits to the head; specifically on hits from behind. Here’s the exact wording of the proposal, per TSN:

“A lateral, back pressure or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and or the principal point of contact is not permitted.

A violation of the above will result in a minor or major penalty and shall be reviewed for possible supplemental discipline.”

I still can’t believe that this wasn’t a rule before and that we’re just now starting to see the NHL take strides to enforce these types of hits. I guess it takes about a dozen players taken off the ice on stretchers before we realize just how dangerous the game has become.

And no, I am not asking for the game to become some wimpy sport where all open-ice hitting is illegal. Rest easy Joffrey Lupul. The NHL understands that the physicality and the brutality of hockey is a major part of the sport’s appeal. But you cannot tell me it’s a good thing for the league when nearly every week we’re debating the legality of a questionable hit while some player is rehabbing for weeks on end because of a bad concussion. It’s bad for the players and it’s bad for the NHL.

On another, yet similar note, Matt Cooke will have a disciplinary hearing at 12:30 p.m. EST with Colin Campbell. I’m not expecting a suspension to come down because technically the hit was legal, according to the NHL’s current and arcane rules.