Unless you missed game 3 of the Blackhawks-Canucks series and are living under a rock, you already know that this Raffi Torres hit on Brent Seabrook has been a hot topic in the last 24 hours:
There are a lot of people that think it should be a suspension and a lot of people that think it shouldn’t. The problem is that people don’t really know why they feel what they feel. A lot of people that feel it that shouldn’t be a suspension argue that Brent Seabrook “has to know that someone is coming”. The problem with that argument is it has nothing to do with the rules. And that’s the problem. Nobody knows what the rules are, because the rules aren’t clear.
I thought I knew the rules, and then this hit got a four game suspension:
I thought the rule (rule 48 to be exact) was that you couldn’t hit someone in the head when you’re coming from the blind side. The Torres hit against Jordan Eberle that earned him a four game suspension was not from the blind side. People didn’t like the hit, but I have yet to hear what exactly Torres did to Eberle that was against the rules.
As confusing as the Eberle suspension was for me, the non-suspension for the Seabrook hit has me even more confused. I felt like Torres’ hit on Eberle was well within the rules. Was it a head shot? Sure. But it wasn’t from the blind side. I thought the hit on Seabrook should have earned at least a one game suspension. The Seabrook hit was also a head shot, but this time it was undoubtedly from the blind side. Yet, there isn’t a suspension. The reason? Well, here’s what Colin Campbell had to say:
When Rule 48 [Illegal Check to the Head] was unanimously adopted by the general managers in March 2010, there was no intention to make this type of shoulder hit to the head illegal… In fact, at that time, we distributed a video to all players and teams that showed a similar hit on a defenseman by an attacking forward coming from the opposite direction behind the net and stated that this is a ‘legal play.’
Here’s the problem with that explanation: it’s not an explanation! Saying that they distributed a DVD is a cop out by the NHL. How many players saw this DVD? How many media members saw it? Maybe the NHL should explain the rules to everyone BEFORE, not AFTER something like this happens. Lots of people defended the hit before the NHL made its decision, but nobody cited this ‘safe zone’ behind the net where blind side head shots are allowed.
So apparently there’s some kind of mystery spot behind the net in which blind side head shots are allowed. I think that’s the only place. Maybe there are more amendments in other DVDs. Perhaps we’ll hear about that down the line. As a fan of the NHL, I find it extremely frustrating that the league can’t find a way to explain the rules. I still don’t know what is and what is not allowed.
In any case, I agree with Ben Kuzma from the Province. Raffi Torres is in the heads of the Blackhawks. You can bet that all six of the Hawks defencemen will have their head on a swivel the next time they see #13 hop over the boards.