Sunday, February 6, 2011

Video: Was Brian Boyle's Hit on Spacek A Headshot?

There is no one who watches the New York Rangers that can claim Brian Boyle is anything but an honest hockey player.  The 6’ 7” Boyle plays a hard physical game and with that comes a significant amount of hitting.  What is at question for me right now is whether yesterday’s hit on Montreal Canadiens defender Jaroslav Spacek classifies as a headshot.

When the play initially happened I did not think it was anything but incidental contact, but after watching the replays it appears that Boyle does flare his elbow out, even if slightly, and the principle point of contact does appear to be the head of Spacek.  To me he should have gotten a two minute minor for elbowing on the play and that should be it.  I have no doubt there is no intent there for Boyle on the hit, but if the NHL headshot rule, and their added attention to it in the wake of the Crosby concussion, is going to mean something they might do something with Boyle here.  For me intent should not matter in whether some level of discipline is handed out because a player must be responsible for himself on the ice.  Where intent comes into play is in the severity of the discipline.  Also, I do not buy this trend that the level of injury determines whether a play was illegal or not and because Spacek was able to return to the game, then it must not have been that bad a hit.

It is that added sensitivity to it in the wake of Crosby that makes me nervous a suspension might come down tomorrow.  We will see.

Was it a headshot?  Does being unintentional matter in whether discipline should be handed out?  Does the level of injury matter?

Video via