Penguins

Why Did The NHL Alter Controversial Rule 48.1?

By Matt Popchock
Brendan Shanahan

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — While the Penguins have issues of their own to deal with as the NHL universally opens training camp today, the issue of player safety remains a serious one league-wide.

The NHL has altered the sometimes controversial language of Rule 48.1, which was written to better protect players from concussions, as reported by CBS Sports “Eye On Hockey” writer Brian Stubits (via Elliotte Friedman of CBC).

“A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted,” the original opening sentence of the rule read.

Going forward, Rule 48.1 now outlaws “a hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head was the main point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable.”

Click here to read the full post by Stubits.

Was this change of verbiage by the League helpful? Most likely. As Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports explains, NHL disciplinary czar Brendan Shanahan (pictured above) no longer has to guess at the intent of an offending player, which can be difficult to prove, when deliberating that player’s punishment.

“‘Targeting’ the head was a cornerstone of the rule at its inception. But as Shanahan and the Department of Player Safety began ruling on Rule 48 over the last two seasons, there was much more focus on hits that didn’t necessarily ‘target’ a player’s head, but ones that made principal contact with the head, but could have been avoided,” Wyshynski writes.

In other words, the new wording of the rule further clarifies it’s up to the hitter to make his check responsibly.

Click here to read the full post by Wyshynski.

RELATED LINKS:

Shea-ved Ice Blog

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CBS Sports’ “Eye On Hockey”

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