Tag:Head Hits
Posted on: September 25, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:30 pm

Sabres' Boyes suspended two games for hit

By Brian Stubits

Another night of preseason games, another player leaves with a suspension from NHL chief disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan.

A day after Brad Staubitz and James Wisniewski were suspended indefinitely for their actions on Friday, Brad Boyes of the Buffalo Sabres had to face the reaper for his hit on the Maple Leafs' Joe Colborne and left with a two preseason-game suspension. He will be able to return for Buffalo's exhibition game in Germany before the season begins in earnest.

See the objectionable hit for yourself and hear Shanahan's explanation.

As you can see, Boyes nails Colborne with the principal contact of the hit coming near the head, the specific play Shanahan and crew are trying to weed out of the game. There was no penalty called on Boyes during the game, but that doesn't guarantee him no league discipline. This one isn't completely clear cut, but the NHL has shown it will air on the side of caution in these cases.

Having no prior discipline past helped spare Boyes from a tougher suspension.

Soon enough players are going to have to reprogram their brains to avoid these types of hits. These are the new rules of the game and they are not going back.

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Posted on: September 20, 2011 11:27 am

NHL changes rules on hits to head, boarding

By Brian Stubits

Brendan Shanahan is now in control of the NHL's disciplinary actions in the NHL offices. Along with that comes the implementation/tweaking of rules, and he introduced a couple new items to teams with videos sent to preseason camps.

The rule changes come as no surprise to anybody as they are an attempt to help take out the dangerous hits from hockey, something the NHL has been working on for a few years.

The first rule specifically addresses hits to the head and tries to clarify the rule, make it simpler for the players to follow. Much like the NFL with their hits on defenseless receivers and to the head, there has been plenty of gray area as to what's legal and what's not.

Here's what the league posted on it's official website.

The NHL changed Rule 48 to render illegal all hits where the head is targeted in an intentional and/or reckless way and is the principal point of contact. A minor penalty will be assessed for infractions of this rule and the possibility of supplementary discipline exists.
The referee can use his judgment to determine if the player put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneous with being hit, as well as if the contact with the head on an otherwise legal body check was avoidable.
"Now, the confusion some of the players have expressed in the past as to what direction they're approaching a player, what direction a player is facing, east, west, north, south, that has all been taken out," Shanahan said. "Anywhere on the ice, coming from any direction, you target the head and make it a principal point of contact, you'll be subject to a two-minute penalty. You'll also be -- as with all two-minute penalties or non-calls -- subject to supplementary discipline."

That does help remove the question marks. Defining it as straight as the head being the principal point of contact is pretty clear.

The other rule that Shanahan and Co. made some changes to are in boarding.

The boarding rule was amended in several ways in order to put the focus on the violent -- and possibly dangerous -- contact with the boards rather than the actual point of contact.
This season, a boarding penalty will be assessed to a player who checks or pushes a defenseless player in a manner that causes the player to have a potentially violent and/or dangerous impact with the boards. The word "pushes" was added to the rule and "defenseless" replaced the word "vulnerable."
The onus now is going to be on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position. If he is, the player applying the hit must avoid or, at the very least, minimize the contact.
"What we did is we took the onus off the violence of the hit itself and added the word 'push' in there," Shanahan said. "It really has more to do with the violence in the collision with the boards. We don't necessarily think it has to be a violent hit to cause a violent crash, so we broadened the rule by putting in the word 'push.'"

These are all a work in progress. But the goal of eliminating the career-threatening hits that we've seen in the NHL is one they will continue to work toward while keeping the integrity of the game and a transparency for the players.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: September 16, 2011 12:54 pm

Sidney Crosby cleared for practice but no contact

By Brian Stubits

Sidney Crosby has been cleared to practice with the Penguins, just not for contact yet. This represents a big step in his long recovery from post-concussion syndrome.

“I’m cleared to practice without contact. That’s good news for me. I’m excited to get going,” Crosby said Crosby on Friday. “Whatever symptoms I’ve had have been pretty minimal. To be able to get cleared to do this is good.”

I can hear what most of you are saying, "Oh great, another Crosby update" but this one has real merit. It's so tantalizing, it has some people wondering if Crosby will be back in time for the start of the season. While I won't even think of going that far, this would qualify as moving on to the next phase. But to state the obvious, hockey is kind of tough. Until he is given a green light on contact can we even begin to speculate when he might be back playing games.

From the Penguins official team site:

“I think camp will be a pretty good indication. It’s going to be pretty intense,” Crosby said. “Even without contact, I’m sure it’s going to be a pretty good pace. I’ll see how things go then.

“But I feel like I’ve done pretty good tests of exertion at different points and responded pretty well. I think the main thing is that I feel pretty comfortable and confident with where I’m at heading into camp here.”

This isn't the first time that Crosby has been cleared to resume hockey activities sans contact. At the end of March he was given the OK to join the team skates with the possibility of a return by the playoffs lingering. But things were shut down when Crosby began suffering post-concussion symptoms again.

So for now, Sid will just worry about things, day by day.

“You don’t want to be evaluating yourself every minute out there,” he said. “You want to go out there and try to do the things you normally do and see how things go. That being said, if everything is going well, you’ve got to use that time to get ready and get back in shape and timing and all of that stuff. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out there with a group and it’s been intense, so I’m just looking forward to getting out there and doing that.”

All this time, the Penguins have been very cautious with Crosby, insisting on not pushing him back too soon, coach Dan Bylsma included. But that doesn't mean it doesn't get him excited to see his superstar back training with the team, even if in a diminished role.

“In terms of seeing Sidney Crosby on the ice in that jersey and participating in practice, it’s always good to see that,” Bylsma said. “He’ll be out there with his teammates and participating.

“A lot of what he’s doing will be what he is comfortable with. He’ll be at the same pace and tempo as the other guys. Some of the contact drills he may not participate in.”

But right now it's a massive step that there are drills he will be participating in.

Just in case you need a reminder, Crosby is, oh, kind of good. He played in exactly half of the games last season yet still led the Penguins in points by 16, scoring 32 goals and adding 34 assists.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 16, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: September 16, 2011 12:53 pm

Daily Skate: Seabrook takes stand on head hits

By Brian Stubits

ANOTHER CALL: Meanwhile, another player has stepped up to take a stand on the hits to the head Crosby and other players have been campaigning against this offseason. The Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook has made his feelings clear on head shots, wanting to see more punishment (CSN Chicago). Seabrook has suffered his own concussions in the past two seasons.

MCCRIMMON UPDATE: While most of the Lokomotiv players that were aboard the tragic flight that went down in Russia have been laid to rest, coach Bobby McCrimmon still hasn't. The funeral services for the coach of the Lokomotiv team and former Red Wings assistant will take place this weekend (NHL.com) in the Detroit suburb of Farmington, Mich.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! The pre-production work has begun on the next installment of HBO's 24/7 series, this year featuring the Winter Classic combatants of the Rangers and Flyers. On Thursday the crew from HBO was with New York, grabbing some promotional footage (Pro Hockey Talk) for the popular show.

BRING HIM BACK: Speaking of the Winter Classic, the fans in Philadelphia are trying to bring back Eric Lindros for the game. A petition is making its way around to try and bring back for the former Flyers star as part of the alumni celebration.

FILLING A VOID: The Bruins have a hole to fill in their leadership program with the retirement of Mark Recchi. So who whould wear the voided A? Joe Haggerty at Comcast Sports Net New England suggests that Shawn Thornton is ready and a great choice.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com