Hits To The Head

I was just reading an article from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star where he talks about David Booth getting hammered again, this time by the Habs’ Spacek.

Hockey is a physical game and it is very fast. Checking is legal. Put all that together and some people will get hurt. Blindside hits or Lateral checks are dangerous and the new rules the NHL are adopting deal with those. Mike Richards’ hit on Booth earlier in the year would have warranted a big suspension under the new rules, fair enough – Booth was unable to protect himself.

Last night’s hit by Spacek was a clean check. Booth had the puck, he had his head down and he got hit front on – totally cleaned up. The reason Spacek’s shoulder hit his jaw was because Booth had his head down. You can’t argue that Spacek shouldn’t deliver a clean check to the puck carrier because the puck carrier is making a fundemental mistake – one he’s probably been warned about since he was 10 years old. If Booth has his head up it’s a shoulder to the chest or he side steps the hit altogether.

The other way to look at it is what if Booth had spun around to face the boards? Spacek crashes into him – does he get hitting from behind because the puck carrier put himself into a stupid position?

The only player on the ice you are allowed to body check is the puck carrier. If we start calling penalties for hard hits on the puck carrier because that guy doesn’t keep his head up then we need to ban hitting.

I think young David Booth is going to have a very short pro career. I remember seeing him earlier this year, in the corner turn his back to the play facing the boards and put his head down looking at the puck in his feet. He’s drifted through the system with a bunch of bad habits as it relates to not protecting himself. If he doesn’t alter that, he’s going to be like Brett Lindros and have a very short career.


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