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View Full Version : [Brooks] NHL Rules Still Too Soft on Head-Hunting Hooligans



Phil in Absentia
11-02-2015, 08:56 AM
But it is clear in light of the free ride the Bruins’ Rinaldo and the Flyers’ Gudas received from the league that the rule [48] does not go far enough in mandating protection for the vast majority of players who are threatened by a small subsection of dangerous hooligans.

Head shots cause brain damage. If that was an inconvenient truth for the sports industry to acknowledge in the past, if it was uncertain before that one-plus-one indeed does equal two, it is now established common sense, as well as medical science.

It is no longer enough for Rule 48 or attendant rules to simply rule out intentional blows to the head, or only to put players away when the head is targeted or the principal point of contact. It is no longer enough to protect players who accept significant risk on every shift, more so when the Rinaldos and Gudases are permitted to roam free on seek-and-destroy missions.

Just as the onus now is on players to avoid checks from behind that send fellow union members — solidarity forever! — crashing head-first or neck-first into the boards (Way to go, Brad Marchand!), the onus must be on checkers to avoid hits to an opponent’s head and not simply to refrain from targeting it.

When Rinaldo ran into Couturier the way he did, it was a matter of physics that the target’s head would take a hit. Ditto when Gudas lined up Stalberg. No coincidence, by the way, that both Couturier and Stalberg were occupied fending off other checks when they were targeted.


If the rules in place are not sufficient to allow the Department of Player Safety to do its job and protect the players, then new regulations must be enacted. Yes, accidents happen. The game has become remarkably fast. Sometimes contact with the head is unavoidable. Risk is inherent to the profession.

But the NHL and NHLPA must get it through their heads, once and for all. The head must be protected at all costs. If it further eliminates some hitting from the game, so be it. Who needs hits like the two in question? And who needs those kinds of players in the game’s midst?

http://nypost.com/2015/11/01/nhl-must-make-more-headway-on-dangerous-head-shots/

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Can't say I really disagree much. Player safety should be at the top of the list of concerns for both the NHL (because the talent sells the game) and the NHLPA (becuase their job is tolook out for the interests of the players nearly at all cost).

My arguments in "support" of the hits from Rinaldo and Gudas were always by the book. These hits are/were "clean" because the rules say they are. Becuase there's no language in the book that suggests otherwise. In fact, Rule 48 specifically outlines cases in which contact with the head can be made. So I found it not just difficult but impossible to call legally supported checks dirty, even though I'd rather not see them in the game myself any longer.

Brooks has it right here. If the DPS doesn't currently have rules sufficient to suspend players for these types of hits, they need new rules that do.

Pete
11-02-2015, 09:29 AM
The Rinaldo hit was penalized, so wasn't clean. The NHL just (somehow, incorrectly) didn't think it warranted supplemental discipline.

Not sure what Brooks' solution is for that... Auto suspension? Whatever is is, I'm OK with it. I can YouTube a ton of clean, hard hits where the head isn't touched.

If you get a shoulder to the chest that causes whiplash and concussion, that's the risk of the game. A shoulder to the head isn't. Players need to learn to hold up and not make hits to unsuspecting players. Simple as that.

AmericanJesus
11-02-2015, 09:45 AM
Brooks is right, only in the sense that Hockey, like all sports, is necessary for the advancement of our species. So from that perspective, there's no reason to allow two human beings to collide violently where either can be injured playing a game that doesn't matter to the human race.

Now, if you want entertainment in the form of sports, then these are adults making the decision that it's acceptable to risk their health for vast sums of money in order to amuse us. He's right again, that there is no doubting that we know that hits that contact the head are detrimental to the health of these athletes. This means every player that puts on skates knows exactly what the risk is and are making conscious decision to participate.

If the goal is to make the game as safe as possible while still allowing for the skill portion of hockey, remove body checking all together. Goal scoring will go way up. Players will stay healthy except for the rare accidental collision. But that won't be hockey as we know it. Hockey is a game where skill comes up against brute force. What is exciting is both when skill overcomes force and when force nullifies skill.

Phil in Absentia
11-02-2015, 09:57 AM
The Rinaldo hit was penalized, so wasn't clean. The NHL just (somehow, incorrectly) didn't think it warranted supplemental discipline.

Because refs never get calls wrong? You tripped a player when a guy falls when your stick never touches his skates but the ref calls it anyway?

And they were correct about it not warranting supplemental discipline, according to the letter of their own rules that clearly outline why. What we're talking about here is ammending those rules to allow for hits like that to be suspended.


Not sure what Brooks' solution is for that... Auto suspension? Whatever is is, I'm OK with it. I can YouTube a ton of clean, hard hits where the head isn't touched.

If you get a shoulder to the chest that causes whiplash and concussion, that's the risk of the game. A shoulder to the head isn't. Players need to learn to hold up and not make hits to unsuspecting players. Simple as that.

I'm not sure the solution either. I'm not sure you can institute an automatic penalty, but I think you could go in and still increase the net on the type of head contact allowed. Call it a "picking" rule, maybe? Both the Stålberg/Gudas and Couturier/Rinaldo hits were on "unsuspecting" opponents who were "stepped up" on where they weren't aware of the hit coming. The hits themselves were legal by the NHL's standards of "hitting through the body" and not specifically targeting the head, but maybe that's something that needs to also be tweaked, where if an injury occurs and contact with the head is still made (jaw, face included) as part of the follow-through, the hit can still be suspended under whatever the sub-section of 48 would be?


Brooks is right, only in the sense that Hockey, like all sports, is necessary for the advancement of our species. So from that perspective, there's no reason to allow two human beings to collide violently where either can be injured playing a game that doesn't matter to the human race.

Now, if you want entertainment in the form of sports, then these are adults making the decision that it's acceptable to risk their health for vast sums of money in order to amuse us. He's right again, that there is no doubting that we know that hits that contact the head are detrimental to the health of these athletes. This means every player that puts on skates knows exactly what the risk is and are making conscious decision to participate.

If the goal is to make the game as safe as possible while still allowing for the skill portion of hockey, remove body checking all together. Goal scoring will go way up. Players will stay healthy except for the rare accidental collision. But that won't be hockey as we know it. Hockey is a game where skill comes up against brute force. What is exciting is both when skill overcomes force and when force nullifies skill.

Sarcasm aside, you're drawing up an unrealistic this or that scenario. It's entirely possible to opt for increased safety measures while not entirely removing physical play from the game.

Head-checking in general is something the league can target and crack down on without having to completely remove body-checking from the game.

Pete
11-02-2015, 10:02 AM
Because refs never get calls wrong? You tripped a player when a guy falls when your stick never touches his skates but the ref calls it anyway?
And they were correct about it not warranting supplemental discipline, according to the letter of their own rules that clearly outline why. What we're talking about here is ammending those rules to allow for hits like that to be suspended.Then the NHL should not have supported the call on the ice. "This is a rare instance, that due to the speed of the game and the angle of the referee, what the referee perceived as head contact was, in fact, not PPOC."

But...They didn't. They supported the penalty called. So, not clean.


I'm not sure the solution either. I'm not sure you can institute an automatic penalty, but I think you could go in and still increase the net on the type of head contact allowed. Call it a "picking" rule, maybe? Both the Stålberg/Gudas and Couturier/Rinaldo hits were on "unsuspecting" opponents who were "stepped up" on where they weren't aware of the hit coming. The hits themselves were legal by the NHL's standards of "hitting through the body" and not specifically targeting the head, but maybe that's something that needs to also be tweaked, where if an injury occurs and contact with the head is still made (jaw, face included) as part of the follow-through, the hit can still be suspended under whatever the sub-section of 48 would be?IIRC, the Gudas hit specifically, Stalberg was already engaged by another player and had no reason to suspect a third player would hit him after he released the puck. That's predatory.

Phil in Absentia
11-02-2015, 10:05 AM
IIRC, the Gudas hit specifically, Stalberg was already engaged by another player and had no reason to suspect a third player would hit him after he released the puck. That's predatory.

Right. I don't disagree. But under the NHL's letter of the law, that's legal. So it needs to be made not legal in order for the NHL to have a leg to stand on regarding suspending those types of hits going forward.

We agree here.

Mike
11-02-2015, 12:28 PM
You can't put more smoke into the already cloudy picture of hitting rules. All of this stuff is sorted out, and discussed by former NHL players. They know what can, and what can't be avoided. Rinaldo's hit was clean, imo, and I hate him with a passion. I have no problem with the way it is now as principal point of contact. You have guys that are 6'7 playing with guys that are 5'7. What do you expect?

Pete
11-02-2015, 12:30 PM
You can't put more smoke into the already cloudy picture of hitting rules. All of this stuff is sorted out, and discussed by former NHL players. They know what can, and what can't be avoided. Rinaldo's hit was clean, imo, and I hate him with a passion. I have no problem with the way it is now as principal point of contact. You have guys that are 6'7 playing with guys that are 5'7. What do you expect?

I expect the guy who's 5'7" (Rinaldo) not to shoulder-up into someone's chin.

Mike
11-02-2015, 12:35 PM
I expect the guy who's 5'7" (Rinaldo) not to shoulder-up into someone's chin.

Imo, his ppoc was clean. Anything after that has to be disregarded. How can you say the same for a guy that's 6'4 that's just putting his arms up in self defense, but creams a short dude in the head? There's too much split second thinking in this game for putting rules in like that. There's too much adrenaline, too much bending, ducking, weaving, etc ..