Every year it’s the same thing! A month or so before the new season starts, the NHL introduces their list of ridiculous new rules that will take a part in the great show of hockey. This year is no different. Less then a week ago, the new rules were presented to the hockey nation. Pointless to say that not much has changed; a couple of "any"s, "cannot"s and "must"s here and there, some crossing off of some dubious sentences and additions of other long and somewhat complicated paragraphs, although this season we have a supernova, the new "BIG DADDY" of rules - Rule 48 - Illegal Check to the Head - which ipsis literis is described as follows:
"48.1 Illegal Check to the Head - A lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact is not permitted.
48.2 Minor Penalty- There is no provision for a minor penalty for this rule.
48.3 Major Penalty- For a violation of this rule, a major penalty shall be assessed (see 48.4).
48.4 Game Misconduct- An automatic game misconduct penalty shall be assessed whenever a major penalty is assessed under this rule.
48.5 Match Penalty- The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head.
48.6 Fines and Suspensions- Any player who incurs a total of two (2) game misconducts under this rule, in either regular League or playoff games, shall be suspended automatically for the next game his team plays. For each subsequent game misconduct penalty the automatic suspension shall be increased by one game.
If deemed appropriate, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion (refer to Rule 28)." (http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=64050)
I have to question at this point how they are going to judge and differentiate an illegal check to the head, where the player literally aimed at the head, and one where the aim was the shoulder, which is "OK", but he was too unfortunate to end up hitting the head. I mean are they going to stop the game for 15 min, have a board meeting and decide what was the aim of the check?? Or, maybe thinking the other way around, a player discussing for 20 min with the referee saying that he had actually aimed at the shoulder, not the head. Reader, I ask you this! - How many more complications are they going to bring to the good old hockey game?
Despite all the rule changes that at the end of the day we all know will not change much when put into practice, I will now shout out “Come’ on Ref let the boys play!!!!!”