Now, pardon the Monday morning quarterbacking, but the gut reaction to watching Sherbrooke Phoenix's Simon Desbiens' headshot on the Blainville-Boisbriand's Samuel Hodhod is to wonder whether it was necessary to go for a bodycheck in that situation.
It comes back to the idea of respect in the game. There will always be injuries, of course. But Hodhod was off-balance while trying to protect the puck from Sherbrooke's Alexandre Sills, so he had dropped to one knee when Desbiens caught him in the 'trolley tracks' and delivered a blow to the head. It was a clear case of, to borrow a term from the National Football League, taking advantage of a defenceless player. Even if Hodhod was still upright, running around in the defensive zone hellbent for a huge hit instead of taking away passing options is a debatable tactic.
Hodhod was knocked out of the game and didn't play in Blainville-Boisbriand's game on Saturday. The game officials only assessed Desbiens with a minor penalty, but the 18-year-old was has been suspended indefinitely.
Updated: Desbiens has been suspended for four games. The Q's rationale:
The player at fault was backchecking at a high speed.
· His opponent, trying to bypass a defenseman, fell on his knees.
· The player at fault continued towards him to hit him.
· He made no effort to minimize the impact.
· His opponent was in a vulnerable position and couldn’t see him coming.
· He was injured on the play.
· Even though the player at fault connected with his opponent touching him with his hip, the shoulder to head impact was violent.
· It was a check to the head, blindside, towards a player in a vulnerable position.
· This was the first offence for the player at fault.
Was this headhunting? Perhaps it's sensational to go that far, but Hodhod was vulnerable. Desbiens appeared to be more focused on the body contact itself rather than using it as a means to the end of turning the puck over and gaining possession for his team. With the concern about reducing the risk of brain injuries, how players process these split-seconds situations needs to be re-thought.
The longest head-checking suspension last season in the QMJHL was only five games.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to email@example.com (video: Telus).