While I am certainly in favor of punishment for players who deliberately target their opponents, punishment is not the name of the game: the name of our game is hockey. Sometimes it can be brutal, sometimes it can be violent, and players get hurt all the time in normal game play. It happens, it's the nature of the game and it's part of why we love it so much. Not everyone is trying to win the Lady Byng, either.
My hope for this rule is that players will think twice before making that hit so fewer players get hurt. Players sometimes forget just how much damage they can do, but there needs to be a level of respect for your opponent. You never know, you might be teammates tomorrow, and the only thing separating you is the logo on the front, so if you can't see that, don't hit him.
These are just two of the players victimized by head shots this season: Marc Savard and David Booth.
March 25, 2010, NEW YORK -- Beginning with tonight's games, the National Hockey League will implement a new rule prohibiting "a lateral, back-pressure or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact."
Under the new rule, the NHL Hockey Operations Department is empowered to review any such hit for the purpose of Supplementary Discipline.
"We believe this is the right thing to do for the game and for the safety of our players," Commissioner Gary Bettman said after receiving unanimous approval from the Board of Governors as well as the endorsement of the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee and the NHLPA Executive Board. "The elimination of these types of hits should significantly reduce the number of injuries, including concussions, without adversely affecting the level of physicality in the game."