NHL's video emphasizes rule changes regarding hits to the head

4 Comments

About a week ago, we tried to translate the NHL’s listed rule book changes into plain English. Luckily, the league is being a bit more proactive as the 2010-11 season rapidly approaches, as you can see from this video that was sent to all 30 teams.

(I guess someone in the league office is still knee-deep in the “nu metal” era …)

The video’s focus was on the NHL’s renewed emphasis on hits to the head. If you’d rather not click on the video (maybe you’re worried about playing one at work?), here is a quick description of the alterations via NHL.com.

Following is the language for Rule 48 as it relates to the upcoming preseason and regular season:

48.1 Illegal Check to the Head– A lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle 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 (refer to Rule 28).

Considering all of the expanding research on concussions (Bob Costas discussed the disturbing new findings about brain injuries during the “Manning Bloodbath Bowl” last night, in fact), it’s heartening to see the league take some steps to cut down on dangerous hits.

There is a fine line between protecting players and sapping the natural brutality from a contact sport; let’s hope the league finds the correct balance.