Thoughts on preemptive hits (a la Letang on Tavares)
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05-02-2013, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Letang, like any other player, is entitled to the ice he is standing on. In general, no one has a duty to get out of the way of any other player. In this instance, the puck is far enough away that the Interference rule is in play, but Letang correctly realizes that Tavares is close enough that if he simply stops and braces for contact, Tavares won't be able to avoid him. Thus, no interference is called.
You see something similar when a defenseman is skating backwards and a forward chips the puck past him. Typically the defender will continue skating backwards in a straight line, in an effort to make the forward change his path and go around him. As long as the defender continues skating in his line, he should be safe from an interference call. However, if the forward starts to go around him and the defender changes his path or initiates contact, then you will see interference called.
Likewise here. If Tavares had changed his path to go around Letang, and Letang had reached out and hit him, then 2 minutes for interference would be appropriate. But since Letang is entitled to his ice, this was a good non-call.
I have no idea what the point is supposed to be about this being a dangerous type of hit. All hits are potentially dangerous. But this hit is legal so the question isn't really whether Letang was right or wrong but whether there should be a rule change. I don't think there should be.
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