Oh good, another headshot

Even well established NHL stars aren’t immune from the latest craze sweeping the nation. No, I’m not talking about Justin Bieber, or DJ Hero.

Headshots are all the rage in today’s NHL. Just ask Joe Thornton.

It’d be a stretch to give him a moniker like Gentle Joe, by Thornton isn’t exactly known for his bone-jarring hits. He’s not really known for any dirty play either, so Thornton’s blindside hit (yes, I used the “B” word) on David Perron during San Jose’s game against St. Louis Thursday night was definitely out of character:

Thornton’s hit summoned the infamous headshot rule. He was assessed a five-minute major on the play and ejected for an illegal hit to the head. The collision occurred in the second period when Thornton stepped out of the penalty box, took a couple of strides, and caught Perron off guard. Although he was hurt and down on the ice for several minutes, Perron would return to the game and score his fifth goal of the season in the Blues’ 2-0 win.

From Shane Doan to Dustin Brown and Nick Foligno, there has been a plethora of illegal and questionable hits, and it’s only Nov.5. The debate around Thornton’s run-in with Perron will be a regurgitation of every other headshot debate: Was it really from the blindside? Or was it more of a lateral hit? And was the head the principle point of contact?

We’ve already seen the hit to the head penalty called incorrectly and later rescinded (Kris Letang), so Thornton now waits for the phone to ring as Colin Campbell gives the Wheel of Justice another spin.

Thornton does have a history with NHL discipline, but his small list of crimes started a decade ago, and he hasn’t been suspended since 2002. He has been suspended three times in his career for a total of seven games.

Comments (9)

  1. This hit reminds me a lot of that Willie Mitchell hit on Toews last year. Hopefully Perron didn’t suffer any concussions from it.

    I agree with you Sean, any hit at all is out of character for big Joe, however, this is the latest hit of the week. I’m sure we’ll forget about it next week, once the next hit happens.

    Will be interesting to see if the NHL wheel of justice comes out.

  2. Big Joe Thornton, former Sault St. Marie Greyhounds, coming out of the box. That’s out of character for him, I can’t imagine Colie coming down hard on Jumbo Joe.

  3. If he had taken just one more stride he probably could’ve gotten more in front of him and just stood him up rather than take the blindeside-ish shot that he did. My initial reaction was nice hit, Perron had his head down looking for the pass he had just received, and with the height difference between Big Joe and Perron, I think this hit ended up worse than intended. I’d be real surprised if Joe got more than 1 game for this.

  4. Just to add to this small debate… was it me, or did virtually every game in the NHL last night feature a really ugly/dangerous hit? Watching highlights was almost laughable because of it.

  5. From the blindside, main point of contact was the head. It’ll get a suspension for sure. The difference between this and the Mitchell/Toews hit is that Mitchell actually hit Toews from the front rather than the blindside.

  6. [...] has been suspended for 2 games for his hit on David Perron of the St. Louis Blues.  Justice hammer.Tomlinson blogged the incident late Thursday night, and he quickly ran down Thornton’s criminal past:  “Thornton does have a history with [...]

  7. [...] night thanks to Sidney Crosby.Crosby engaged in his fifth career fight, and had it not been for this week’s headshot courtesy of Joe Thornton one night later, we’d probably still be talking about that time [...]

  8. [...] Thornton Response Posted by Scott Lewis under General on Dec 20, 2010 It had been six weeks since Joe Thornton leveled David Perron with a controversial hit in St. Louis, and Perron continues to experience the after effects of said hit.  The Sharks rolled into St. [...]

  9. [...] most notable name suspended so far has been Joe Thornton, who sat out two games following a hit on David Perron of the St. Louis Blues.What at first looked to be a violent but not malicious hit resulted in a short time in the press [...]

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