posted at 12/29/2012 10:08 AM EST
In response to Not-A-Shot's comment:
As anyone who has every played competitively will agree, those are the types of situations you dream out. Big game, oppenent coming up the ice with the head down. BOOM!
You get one, maybe two of those a year and you spend the rest of the time looking for it.
They call it, "hockey". I learned to look for that, hit like that in peewee hockey. I also learned to avoid it at all costs with the puck. A few times I didn't. I got rocked. It was awful. It was hockey.
That's the way I always looked at it too, but my mind is being changed. Many argue this type of hit isn't necessary, and really brings little to the game. I'm seeing more and more reason to that argument.
I played hockey at a fairly high level, and like you, dreamed of those situations. Thing is though, players weren't routinely carried off on stretchers in those days. Coaching is better, and much more demanding. Years ago, you wouldn't have seen a player like Yakopov diving face first to block shots. Players aren't allowed to side step hits like they were in my day, coaches won't put up with it, plus there seemed to be more of a code.
Couple all of that with the fact that players are much faster, stronger, and have to compete much harder than they ever did, and it's obvious that we can't just leave things the way they used to be. I feel that play would be a penalty in the NHL, and although I agree with everyones assesment it was clean....they'd still call it boarding or charging in the NHL, and I'm not sure that's a bad thing.
The game is evolving, and the rules have to too.
Watched game 6 of the 78 Cup finals last night(Bruins,Habs). It's easy to see why we need to update our definitions of acceptability as we move forward. The game is night and day from those times, in fact the notion that these were the best 2 teams in the America's is almost laughable. We've come a long, long way since then.
2 years ago, I would've smirked and stood solidly behind "keep your head up". It's just not that simple anymore.
Especially at a tournament featuring "boys", I don't think the officials used terrible judgement.
The maddening thing for me, is the fact that the industry is continuing to keep it's head in the sand, instead of instituting clear perimeters of playability. Sport needs to be defined by it's rules. Hockey has always been at the bottom of the heap in that department, leaving officials holding the bag.