NHL to ban hits to the head... this year?

For years the NHL and media have discussed banning hits to the head but the time might finally have come. Bill Daly stated this morning that the rule could be put in place before the end of the regular season or in time for the playoffs, if approved. A DVD is currently being prepared for the 30 NHL teams in order to show them what would be legal and what wouldn't be.

I've criticized the NHL quite a bit and still believe it's a very poorly managed league but, for once, I think the NHL would be taking an excellent decision. It's very unusual to change a rule in the middle of an NHL season but right now the NHL doesn't have a choice. Imagine, with five games left to play in the season, that Sidney Crosby gets hit at center ice with a shoulder to the head and is out for the entire playoffs. Not only would the hit ruin the Penguins chances of back to back cups and hurt TV ratings even more but the player who hit him couldn't even be suspended... If something like that were to happen, as devastating as the hit could be, Colin Campbell wouldn't be able to justify suspending a player for a hit to the head because Mike Richards and Matt Cooke weren't suspended.

Right now, players know they can hit each other with shoulders to the head and without being suspended. You can bet that within the next few weeks, if the occasion presents itself, some players will take it. This is a great decision by the NHL to try and accelerate the process. Now let's hope the rest of the league comes through and that this rule is approved soon in order to avoid another public embarrassment for the NHL.