: Injury Report:
Doughty cleared to return to full hockey activity, expected to play Thursday
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10-21-2010, 11:29 AM
Dark Mod Powers
Join Date: Aug 2003
Leaning in with the shoulder is not illegal; targeting the head is illegal. Perfect example a couple games ago, Chris Letang crushed a guy with a shoulder to shoulder hit and it looked a lot worse than it was in regular motion. Partly because the weasel had a loose helmet and it flew off. The worst thing about this hit was the timing (late).
I think Cole was going for the same kind of shoulder-to-shoulder hit (the contact was definitely initiated by him IMO, not incidental or "bracing for and unexpected collision"), but Doughty's head wasn't all the way up and they collided. This isn't engineering. Sometimes you make an attempt to hit a moving object and you don't hit the part you expect. The question is, should the league care about a player's intentions? My answer is no; not if they're attempting to punish any type of hits to the head / chin / neck area for safety reasons. Not unless the hit is obvious intent to injure (swinging the stick, jumping into a guy shoulder first, face into boards, etc).
This is one of those grey areas the league is going to have a hard time enforcing because there's no obvious violation here. So if they suspend him for a game, then people will ***** that it's because he hit Doughty and not some lesser profile player. If they don't suspend him then Kings fans feel they get screwed because the message is sent that the league isn't protecting their guys enough etc.
Personally I would call Cole into the league offices and give him a talking to and let him know that next one, he's not getting the benefit of the doubt and leave it at that. Then if he does it again (same kind of hit) sit him for 10 games and see if that wakes him up.
To me the real problem here is the league isn't stating the obvious which should be "it doesn't matter what your intention was; if you hit someone shoulder-to-head/neck, you're putting another player's career in jeopardy and you will sit. Just like it doesn't matter if you don't intend to whack someone in the head with your stick during a scrum. Control your hits like you control your stick or you will get harsh penalties." And these wimpy 3-5 gamers are not the right amount. If you want to send a message, sit a guy for 8 or 10 games. Then most likely it will only take one offense for the message to be received and a player will be more selective as to how and when he hits a guy on the open ice.
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