March 25, 2010
Tonight's NHL games will be the dawn of a new era in a sense. Gone will be the unpenalized blindside headshots that have plague the game for some time. The NHL and the NHLPA agreed to a new rule that prohibits "a lateral, back-pressure or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact". For the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, Colin Campbell will be able to
spin the Wheel of Justice hand out supplemental discipline to any players who target the head of an opponent.
Over the summer, the Competition Committee will discuss an on-ice penalty that was proposed that the General Managers' meetings earlier this month. If that's passed, that penalty will take effect beginning with the 2010-11 season.
Now that the rule is in place, the NHL released a video explaining which hits would now be illegal compared to those that are okay to lay on an opponent.
"Well hopefully it's not something you have to see too often," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby."It's a quick game, obviously, and there may be a couple of guys early on who may forget or may not realize the severity of the rule right away...but with any rule that's what you see. You have to see guys who are made examples (of), and we're going to see that with this rule for sure. But how soon or how much it affects everything, I guess we'll have to wait and see. At any point guys are going to have to realize that."
"We have to make some kind of adjustment. We're doing to best we can to inform every player of what's going to affect them on the ice," explained Sabres goalie and Competition Committee member Ryan Miller. "It's not just about saying "this is the right thing", and doing it, it's about informing everybody even if it is the right thing."
So headshots have been defeated? Great. Now, if we could move on to solving that supplementary discipline process, that'd be swell. Being able to punish offenders is fantastic news, but will we continue to read debates on whether the supplemental discipline is "too little" or "too much"?