Personally, I’m a fan of Brendan Shanahan and the suspensions he’s handed out in the NHL this season. It’s a seriously tough job, and I think he’s done a good job finding the fine line of allowing players to hit and hit hard, while punishing those players who take cheap shots and put others in danger. Today he put out a video that highlights the difference between illegal checks to the head, and plain old hard hits.
I get the impression, thanks to Twitter, that people think that every time a player’s head gets touched there should be a suspension. The reality is, if the head isn’t targeted or the principle point of contact, it’s not up for suspension, because you try to throw a body check and avoid head contact entirely. The way bodies are built makes that difficult.
Anyway, I wanted to share this so hopefully some hockey fans would gain a clearer understanding of what’s allowed, and what isn’t in the NHL.
I suppose the hybrid icing rule being used in the AHL right now really isn’t that complicated, but any time you give referees more leeway to make judgement calls, you open them up to an increased level of scrutiny.
Still, that’s a small price to play for the bump in safety, as Taylor Fedun and Kurtis Foster – both of whom have snapped a femur racing for pucks versus on-rushing forwards – would likely agree.
The new rule basically states that if a d-man is trying to out-race an opponent to touch the puck for an icing, and seems likely to get there first, the linesman can blow the play dead – icing – before there can be a potentially dangerous collision. The decision is made by the linesman when the two men reach the faceoff dots in the d-zone (if you’re going to call this rule, I say we put a thin line on the ice there).
It’s an idea hockey fans have kicked around for awhile – if my memory serves me right, I believe well-respected hockey reporter Bob McKenzie has been a proponent of this for quite some time:
The Swedish Elite League has now made it legal to kick the puck in the net with your skate. All forms of off-the-skate-and-in are permitted, as long as your blade doesn’t leave the ice (for safety purposes). The guy in the picture at the top of this post may want to get that leg down just a touch.
Thanks to Linus Hugosson for the head’s up:
Swedish Elite League has decided to allow goals via skates, even with kicking motion, as long as the skate stays on the ice. @sean_leahy