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What is the NHL coming to…

In the 2011 Stanley cup playoffs we have seen many border line rule #48 plays some have been suspended and some have not.

Well here is rule #48 just to refresh your memory:

Rule 48 – Illegal Check to the Head

48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact is not permitted.

48.2 Minor Penalty – There is no provision for a minor penalty for this rule.

48.3 Major Penalty – For a violation of this rule, a major penalty shall be assessed (see 48.4).

48.4 Game Misconduct – An automatic game misconduct penalty shall be assessed whenever a major penalty is assessed under this rule.

48.5 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head.

48.6 Fines and Suspensions – Any player who incurs a total of two (2) game misconducts under this rule, in either regular League or playoff games, shall be suspended automatically for the next game his team plays. For each subsequent game misconduct penalty the automatic suspension shall be increased by one game.

If deemed appropriate, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion.

The latest suspensions have been handed out to Pittsburgh Penguins Chris Kunitz and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steve Downie. A deserved suspension for both of these players a one game suspension to me it is a very resonable suspension. Jarret Stoll of the LA Kings was given a one game suspension and Anaheim Ducks Bobby Ryan was handed out a two game suspension. All of the following instances above relate to rule 48 except for the Bobby Ryan incident, and they all deserve a suspension.

In the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks, Raffi Torres of the Canucks high hit was the result of Brent Seabrook’s injury and abscence of tonight’s game. Torres’ shoulder made contact with Seabrook’s head during a play behind the net were Torres made no effort to get the puck but instead aim for the head. This hit  is pretty identical to the hit of Steve Downie on Ben Lovejoy in which resulted in a one game ban.

In the game between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers a similar incident occurred were suspension was not made but was looked at. The hit by New York’s Marc Staal on Washington Capitals Mike Green is very similar to the hit that involved Chris Kunitz delivering an extended elbow to the head of Simon Gagne. The NHL has made an effort to cut down on head-shots and high hits to the head either blindside or not. The rules that have been implemented in to the league have helped in many parts of eliminating these types of plays, but the one problem that stands alone is the consistency of the calls made. The calls that have been resulting in suspensions are the same calls that have been leaving many fans, players, coach’s and general managers with question marks? What really is a head shot in this league?

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