NHL in Discussion About Enforcing a No-Contact Rule.
There has been a new topic popping up this week in the world of NHL, as the bodily and direct head contact continues to be an issue between teams during these semi-final playoffs. Although many times the high-speed pucks that fly towards players are non-intentional, they can cause some serious damage, not to mention the long-term effects on the players who take the hits.
Physical contact has always been an element in hockey, I mean the hard slams against the glass and the typical brawls between teams are loved by fans and even encouraged by the teams. But it seems that some things are starting to go a little to far, as it has been speculated that it would be in the best interests of the league to initiate a zero-tolerance policy on head contact. Which means that headshots will result in either a penalty or in the severe cases, a suspension for the one who aims the shots.
This is definitely murky water, as morally it seems wrong not to penalize someone who sends a shot that results in either a concussion, neck damage, to even the worst case of having a jaw shattered. For the speed that the puck is released at it is not enough for just the helmet to absorb the puck’s speed. Not to mention long-term effects like CTE, which are prominent in similar impacts within the NFL. But on the other side of the debate, it is much understood for fans and players alike that the sport is one which features aggression, and if a player truly had no intentions of aiming the shot at a fellow opponent, lets just say he skates in front of the fast-paced and elevated shot, would it be right to suspend that player during a major series?
This issue was brought to light by the recent outrage stemming from the play in which winger Tom Wilson of the Capital’s team, caused a serious injury to the Penguin’s player Aston-Reese, who suffered a broken jaw from the hit and a serious concussion. This move caused the Penguins to lose one of their most valuable players, who will now have to undergo multiple weeks, even months out of the playoffs, as he requires surgery, rest and treatment.
But since the beginning of the playoffs, Wilson has caused two other serious injuries, with another direct head injury to Brian Dumoulin of the Penguins causing a concussion, as well as an unnecessary hit to the Blue Jackets’ player Alex Wennburg. Of course, Wilson is not the only player to serve up these intense shots and cause injuries, but if there was a no tolerance policy in place, could an earlier suspension have resulted in Aston-Reese avoiding the season changing injury?