If you look back on some questionable instances from earlier in the season -- heck, you can go back two or even three more seasons -- there's been an endless stream of talk surrounding hits to the head and how the league should handle the situation in an effort to prevent further devastating and perhaps even career-ending injuries.
Tonight, in an effort to further penalize a player beyond just in-game penalty minutes, the NHL will implement a new rule that covers the following:
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.
When you think about some of the hits this season -- Cooke on Savard, Ovechkin on Campbell, Richards on Booth -- it would almost seem like each of those would warrant a suspension under this new rule, right?
It's a good thing this sort of thing is not retroactive in its inception, but I'm starting to wonder just how long the league has to go until they are forced to apply or reference this rule.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for preventing head injuries that could, as I mentioned earlier, potentially end a player's season/career. But for the hockey purist out there, is there any concern that this may limit the game a bit? Do you feel its almost too vague in its content?
I'm kind of curious to see what the general perception of this is.
Update: After the jump, the NHL's video on legal/illegal hits
9:15pm Update: Fehr and Balanced passed along a video released by the NHL that gives examples of legal and illegal hits. It helps clear things up a bit, even if you still think a few of the legal ones are questionable. Still a good watch.