Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 03/31/07 at 09:34 AM ET
from ESPN’s Scott Burnside:
You really want to help eradicate the kind of senseless, potentially devastating hits to the head we’ve seen lately? Why not add a couple of tools to the referees’ tool box?
Referees are expected to call an interference or obstruction penalty if a player without the puck finds his progress impeded. Similarly, an interference call should be made when a player who has just had the puck is hit long after he’s given it up, because he’s being interfered with, right?
Moreover, if a referee had the ability to levy a major penalty for interference, if such a late hit warranted it, wouldn’t that be a good thing? Take the Cam Janssen hit on Tomas Kaberle—a hit that cost the Leafs their best defenseman for three weeks of the playoff drive. No penalty was called on the play, but if the referees had a major penalty for interference in their bag of tricks, it might have been employed then. More important, the implied threat of such a penalty might have given Janssen pause before he headhunted the unsuspecting Kaberle.
Even if Joel Lundqvist didn’t perform what Ren and Stimpy once called the “flying butt pliers” on Nik Kronwall’s hip, I’d say the same thing—these “run-‘em-‘cause-you-can” hits are senseless and silly.
Since when did “the code” say that “finishing your check” means “impale your opponent if at all possible?” Some sort of penalty for stupid “finishes” needs to reel in the Tootoos, Lundqvists, Janssens, and all the morons that believe that taking a run at a player is part of normal forechecking.
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