Sunday, October 19, 2008

On head shots

Found via Stu Hackel's New York Times Slap Shot blog comes this compilation of head shot rules from various sports leagues posted on the fan blog in March of 2007. His motivation for looking into what other leagues do came after Patrick Eaves, then of the Senators, was levelled by Colby Armstrong, then of the Penguins.

Here's the list:

From the NFL rule book:
15 Yards (and disqualification if flagrant)
3. Striking opponent on head or neck with forearm, elbow, or hands whether or not the initial contact is made below the neck area.

From the NBA rule book:
Officials have been instructed to eject a player who throws a punch, whether or not it connects, or an elbow which makes contact above shoulder level. If elbow contact is shoulder level or below, it shall be left to the discretion of the official as to whether the player is ejected. Even if a punch or an elbow goes undetected by the officials during the game, but is detected during a review of a videotape, that player will be penalized.

From the MLB rule book:
8.02(d) Intentionally Pitch at the Batter.
Rule 8.02(d) Comment: To pitch at a batter’s head is unsportsmanlike and highly dangerous. It should be—and is—condemned by everybody. Umpires should act without hesitation in enforcement of this rule.

From the OHL rule book:
Rule 48 - Checking to the Head A minor or a major and game misconduct penalty, at the discretion of the referee based on the degree of impact, shall be assessed to any player who checks an opponent to the head area in any manner. A match penalty shall be assessed to any player who deliberately attempts to injure an opponent by Checking to the Head. Note: A hit to the head with a shoulder shall be considered an illegal check and shall be penalized as checking to the head. From the Rugby League rule book:

15.1) A player is guilty of misconduct if he:
b) Attacks the head of an opponent when effecting a tackle.

From the Rugby Union rule book:
The foul and misconduct laws are comprehensive. A player is not allowed to strike, hack, kick, or trip an opponent, though he may “hand off” an opponent with the flat palm of his hand when the opponent is trying to tackle him. Nor may a player make a dangerous tackle (for example, a high tackle around the neck and head) or tackle with a stiff arm.

From the National Lacrosse League rule book:
b) When a major penalty is imposed under this Rule for a foul resulting in an injury to the face or head of an opponent, a game misconduct shall be imposed.

a) A major penalty shall be assessed to a player who checks an opponent in such a way that contact is made between his stick and the opponent.s neck, face or helmet.
Should an injury occur a major penalty and a game misconduct penalty will be assessed.
(NOTE): Incidental contact with the helmet should be disregarded.

b) If a player being legally checked deliberately ducks, so as to cause the stick of the opponent to strike him on the head or neck, no penalty shall be assessed.

It just further illustrates how archaic the NHL's view on blows to the head actually is.

In case you missed it, here's Kurt Sauer's hit on Andrei Kostitsyn, and be sure to also check out the description of the play by the HNIC crew. They basically agreed with RDS' Benoit Brunet that the hit may have been a bit high but it was essentially clean. Brunet actually raises a good point when he says that the consequences of the hit would not have been nearly as severe if Kostitsyn had seen it coming rather than watching the puck, but I still feel the league should implement a rule against making contact with a player's head, like just about every other non-bush league out there has already done.

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