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02-02-2011, 05:23 PM
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That Mercury News article is ridiculous and wrong in so many ways, I don't even know where to start.

Nichol was not suspended for violating rule 48. He was suspended for elbowing that involved the head. Thornton absolutely and clearly violated the blindside rule, and if he hasn't figured out how yet, he needs to look up the definition of "blindside."

Then the author tries to compare it to the Crosby stuff, which is equally ridiculous. Neither the Hedman hit (boarding but the head was neither the primary point of contact nor targeted - the head was involved in a hit that took the whole body) nor the Steckel collision (incidental contact initiated by Crosby) violate rule 48 and are completely other worlds from the Thornton hit.

The Nichol hit is closest to the Kostopoulos hit on Stuart, though much more illegal than Kostopoulos because of the contact from the extended forearms. Targeting the head in an otherwise allowable check is fine. But Nichol's extended forearms bring the elbowing rules into play, and elbowing violations to the head are always taken fairly seriously.

If the author really wanted to make a point about the rule being confusing, he needed to cite the suspension to Kostopoulos. Bringing in a pair of valid suspensions and whining the Sharks just don't understand, though, is really a commentary on the team's victim mindset.

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