The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/24/11 at 07:59 AM ET
According to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell’s insistence that the NHL does not wish to ban shoulder-to-head hits on unsuspecting defensemen in the “valley of death” beside or behind the net—in specifically referencing Raffi Torres’s long run on Brent Seabrook which went unpunished, to the consternation and rejuvenation of the Chicago Blackhawks—has raised an eyebrow or two among the NHLPA members who had assumed that forwards who charge defensemen would not be exempted from the blind-side hitting rule for the sake of Campbell’s insistence that players who don’t keep their heads up are still Marc Savard-hit-legal because the NHL chose not to ask referees to enforce its now largely ignored rules regarding charging, boarding and, as Brooks points out, an existing rule which should, in theory, have resulted in a penalty to what shouldn’t be a legal hit, ever:
The PA intends to use its representation on the increasingly irrelevant competition committee to attempt to craft a rule this summer that would explicitly outlaw the Torres’ hit that concussed the Blackhawks’ first-pair defensemen.
Really, though, what’s the point when the man in charge (with, it must be stressed, the full support of his employers on Sixth Avenue) spends his time searching for loopholes in the rulebook to enable predators rather than applying Rule 21.1 to protect the vast majority of players who are — now by definition — targets in the crosshairs.
This is Rule 21.1: “A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures another player in any manner.”
Unless there is a secret amendment to 21.1 that reads, “Except in the area behind the net and except when the play in question is a shoulder to the head of a player with his head down about the play the puck,” there is no explanation, none at all, that would explain Campbell and the league’s failure to apply the statute against Torres.
When a player targets an opponent’s head, he is deliberately attempting to injure him. That’s it. There’s no wiggle room, no other explanation, no room for debate.
This is Matt Cooke-Marc Savard all over again. This is Campbell acting as an attorney for legal aid, combing the statutes for technicalities to free a client charged with a felony, rather than the NHL executive charged with enforcing discipline in the game. Lost in technicalities, Campbell misses the larger picture. It is the league’s responsibility to protect the greater good, not serial headhunters like Torres, who had just returned from a suspension for a headshot.
Continued with painfully obvious talk about the Flyers’ goaltending issues.
And talk about disturbing—even the Detroit Free Press’s Evil Drew Sharp thinks that Colin Campbell’s lost touch. Expert-to-expert talk there.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.