The NHL announced tonight that the league rule book will be one penalty heavier next season adding a major penalty for blindside hits to the head. Get your pens out to write this one into your copy of the league rules that I know you’ve got sitting on your desk. Wait, I’m the only one with that? Well, fine, but here it is anyhow.
Rule 48, “Illegal Check to the Head,” also empowers a referee, at his discretion, to assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the penalized player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head.
There shouldn’t be a lot of argument about this from anyone but I’m sure the first instance this comes into play will come under intense, slow motion scrutiny by everyone on the Internet and otherwise. That said, having to add a rule like this is a bit crazy in the first place in that none of the other infractions in the book covered having a guy come out of nowhere and blasting another player in the head being a penalty. One fun side tweak to all this is what to do with guys who keep doing this repeatedly.
Any player who incurs a total of two game misconducts under this rule, in either the regular season or playoffs, will be suspended automatically for his team’s next game. For each subsequent game misconduct penalty, the automatic suspension will be increased by one game.
If deemed appropriate, supplementary discipline also can be applied.
With this kind of rider attached to the rule, I certainly hope the league won’t be wishy-washy about suspending guys when it’s called for in the rule book. The league’s rule about suspending that are called for an instigator penalty with less than five minutes to play has been rescinded more than it’s been punished. Doing the same in this case would be a tremendous mistake.
It’s rough that it took Marc Savard getting blown up by Matt Cooke this year to finally snap the league and players out of their haze and into doing something proactive about protecting one another, but at the same time, it’s great that at least something is being done and almost immediately as well.
Things continue to snowball out of control for the San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks lost their sixth consecutive game after yet another blowout defeat, this time by a final score of 7-2 versus the Nashville Predators on Saturday. Forward Logan Couture lost a tooth after taking a puck to the face in the second period.
And late in the game, Micheal Haley was given a match penalty for an incident involving Calle Jarnkrok.
The Sharks forward is now automatically suspended until commissioner Gary Bettman reviews the incident.
This incident occurred when Haley was hit into the boards by Jarnkrok. Haley then got up, sped right toward the Predators forward, dropped his gloves and delivered a punch to Jarnkrok as he tried to back away, knocking him to the ice.
Jarnkrok was given a minor penalty for boarding.
Haley was also involved in a fight with Cody McLeod early in the first period.
This has been a particularly shocking, if not embarrassing stretch for the Sharks. In a two-game trip to Dallas and Nashville, against teams below them in the standings, the Sharks were outscored 13-3.
Martin Jones allowed seven goals on 34 shots faced.
If Edmonton wins tonight, the Sharks, Ducks and Oilers will be in a three-way tie for first place in the Pacific Division.
Related: What is wrong with the Sharks?
More bad news for the San Jose Sharks.
After a slow start against the Nashville Predators during Saturday’s game, forward Logan Couture was hurt in the dying seconds of the middle period after taking a puck to the face while battling in front of the net.
Replays show Couture appeared to lose a tooth. He quickly skated off the ice and to the dressing room.
The Boston Bruins have been trending in the wrong direction of late — once again at the worst possible time with the end of the regular season in sight and a playoff spot on the line.
They entered a massive clash with the New York Islanders on Saturday having lost four straight, temporarily falling out of a playoff spot because of fewer games played.
They didn’t have Tuukka Rask in net because of a lower-body injury. They were on the road. They fell behind the Islanders early in the first period.
Despite that, the Bruins quickly came back on a goal from Riley Nash, who scored again in the third period to help his team to a 2-1 victory.
The four-game losing streak? Gone. With seven games remaining, Boston is back in the final wild card spot, two points ahead of the Islanders, who do still have a game in hand.
“We have a great mood in here this morning, everyone’s excited and pretty light and there’s no tense feel,” said Brad Marchand prior to facing the Islanders.
Back-up goaltending has been a concern in Boston this season, however Anton Khudobin shut the door after the Tavares goal, making 18 saves for the win.
The Bruins host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Last night, we asked: What is wrong with the San Jose Sharks?
Well, a day later, with the Sharks looking to avoid a sixth straight loss, the struggle continues.
After a blowout loss last night against the Dallas Stars, the Sharks have fallen behind the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-0 after the opening period.
Colton Sissons opened the scoring for Nashville.
It didn’t get any better for the Sharks.
Roman Josi walked right around Brent Burns, hitting the cross bar with his shot. Cody McLeod was right there for the tap-in to increase Nashville’s lead.