Monday, October 27, 2008

It wasn't a head shot.

First let's take a look at the hit in question.
Doug Weight hits Brandon Sutter:

Doug Weight does not lift his elbow or his shoulder. He is going for a normal hit. Brandon Sutter is reaching for the puck.

Why this is stupid:
- Sutter has lowered his head to shoulder height.
- Sutter is in the neutral zone. Has anyone learned anything from Eric Lindros?
- Hey Sutter! Were your laces tied? you were looking at them awful closely.

Doug Weight went in to stop Sutter from getting the puck and going for a skate. I don't think Weight expected Sutter to suddenly start reaching for the puck and stick his head into Weight's shoulder.

It's sort of like that time in a UFC fight when Rampage Jackson joked, "He really beat my hand up with his face."

It was a clean hit.

I wasn't going to post on this, as I thought it was pretty straight forward. During the television cast the commentators caught on pretty quick that Sutter lowered his head. And most others got it right away as well:

"Sutter, 19, spent Saturday night in the hospital after he was leveled by a hard, clean check from Doug Weight in the Hurricanes' 4-3 victory," said the Free Press.

"Sutter was hurt during Saturday's 4-3 win over Islanders after taking a hard but clean check from Doug Weight," said the Canadian Press.

But then I go over to and they have this piece of work using this Weight-Sutter hit as an example of how the NHL is ignoring hits to the head.

Todd Bertuzzi hits people in the head. Ryan Hollweg hits people in the head. When these guys do something f&%king crazy, go ahead and run this story. But there are hits that happen, and they happen to involve the head. Write your story tsn, but it should be about how players continually put themselves in these stupid and vulnerable positions.

Doug Weight is one of the cleanest players out there. I highly doubt he was head hunting. And if he knew Sutter was going to do what he did — he probably would've held back.

from TSN:

It was an all-too familiar scene for the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, when rookie winger Brandon Sutter went down with a concussion after a hit from former Hurricane and current New York Islander Doug Weight.

The Hurricanes have sustained four severe injuries in recent years, all resulting from shots to the head.

Sutter's concussion was the last straw for Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford, who suggested the league is paying lip service over its concern for players' safety when it comes to headshots.

"The league should at least stop saying it's concerned with hits to the head, because it's not," Rutherford told "I've had four players - Erik Cole, Trevor Letowski, Matt Cullen and now Sutter - get badly injured on hits to the head and only one of the guys who hit them was suspended. So don't tell me the league is concerned about hits to the head because it's not."

"You can say it's a contact game and it is, and I'm fine with that," added Rutherford. "Just don't say you care about players getting hit in the head because you don't."

But policing becomes a complex issue with a part of a game that's technically not illegal and is deeply entrenched in hockey culture.

Many of these hits occur with a player getting caught with his head down so it's easy to preach against but not so simple to correct, given the pace of today's NHL.

The Montreal Canadiens, opponents of the Hurricanes on Tuesday, have their own story to tell, having lost Andrei Kostitsyn to a concussion last week.

Kostitsyn was injured when his head slammed against the glass and he landed face-first on the ice after being hit. by Kurt Sauer of the Phoenix Coyotes. He is awaiting medical confirmation to decide whether he will face the Hurricanes or miss his third game. The decision could come later today.

"They're trying to eliminate hits to the head and this was a hit to the head, whether or not it was intentional. He got him with his arm," Montreal head coach Guy Carbonneau said after the game.

Carbonneau wonders how long it will be before a player suffers a fate potentially worse than a concussion, such as former Hurricane Erik Cole, whose career and life were jeopardized.

Carbonneau suggests players need to make choices before hitting somebody in a vulnerable position. For the French press he drew a metaphor saying, "I've held a gun in my hand, but I've never wanted to shoot somebody."

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