Welcome to a new feature (well, an old feature made new again) here at ClearedForContact: Quick Hits. Each Sunday, we’ll cover some of the recent happenings, statistics, and anecdotes from the previous week’s games, as well as touch on important goings-on around the NHL as a whole to cap off the week and to get your Monday mornings started.
Brendan Smith has every right to be seething at the NHL, or more specifically the Department of Player Safety, in the wake of being the victim of a vicious headshot from Los Angeles Kings forward Kyle Clifford this past week.
“I’m still shocked that nothing has happened,” Smith told The [New York] Post. “I think those kind of hits are what we’re trying to get out of the game. That’s what we’ve been harping on. So I don’t understand what’s going on at the moment. To me it’s a clear target of the head.”
This type of inaction is a prime example of why the CBA’s mandate that an injury on the play heavily factors into the decision to apply supplemental discipline or not, and it needs to be collectively bargained out at the next negotiations. The practice is one that may have made some sense on paper when it was agreed to, but has proven impractical, if not utterly backwards, in reality – as the Clifford-Smith collision proves. After all, would we be having this conversation had Smith been concussed on the play? Or instead would we be debating the length of Clifford’s suspension?
If the NHL wants these types of headshots out of the game, then do so by legislating heavily against them, regardless of whether the victim gets up off the ice right away or not.