The easiest way to remove much of the confusion regarding controversial hits is to set obvious, black-and-white boundaries for what is legal and what is illegal.
That being said, the easiest way isn’t always the right way. While Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier (and other GMs) feels like the league will eventually make all hits to the head illegal, it won’t happen yet. The NHL GMs decided not to recommend a ban of all head shots today, instead opting to put a heightened emphasis on penalizing teams and players for charging and boarding penalties.
As we discussed yesterday, Gary Bettman also proposed longer suspensions for repeat offenders and illegal hits, even if the league’s commissioner decided not to provide specifics. (Mario Lemieux’s letter went that extra step, though.)
Again, it would certainly be clearer if the NHL just went ahead and made all hits to the head illegal, but some worry that would mar a game that is at its best when it is physically intense. For better or worse, the league isn’t ready to take what would be a radical step to remove hits that produce at least some of the sport’s concussions. (Until hockey is no longer a contact sport, concussions will likely be at least some part of the game.)
So what do you think? Should hits to the head be illegal or would that measure be too extreme? Let us know in the poll below.