The NHL seems to have it in their heads that in order for hockey to be exciting there has to be a lot of goals. To solve the problem of lack of scoring, the league has eliminated obstructions and picks, they’ve taken away the two line pass, and they’ve taken away the option of a line change on an icing. All of these things have definitely opened the game up, but they all contribute to more dangerous situations for players.
As discussed in Why Don Cherry Is Wrong, the extremely high rate of speed the players can move at today makes everyone automatically more vulnerable, and the lack of obstruction allows these speeds to be reached almost all the time. When the obstruction interference rule was first introduced this wasn’t a bad thing because players still remembered the days of legal picks and pulls and were always ready for the next player to attempt to clutch at them. They were more aware of their opponents around them. The rule changes have been around long enough that I think a player with the puck skating at speed thinks he’s in some sort of impenetrable bubble and if someone tries to hit him it would be like trying to attack the Death Star. I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard an announcement from the timekeeper’s box: Rebel’s penalty to Luke Skywalker, 5 minutes and a game misconduct for hitting when they thought the shields were still up. Plus you’ll have to stand before the Emperor in a hearing and get pumped with lightning. It makes no sense.
When we allow the players to skate unimpeded, hunched over, at full speed with no consequence (ie a clean hit that happens to make contact to the head), we make it almost impossible to prevent the dangerous circumstances from happening more often in the first place. Not to mention it might make it harder for guys to drive the net and make incidental contact with the goalie, resulting in less goals called back.
Verdict: All of the things they did to increase scoring haven’t benefited that way at all, and concussions have since skyrocketed so the dangers outweigh the benefits. If the headshot law hasn’t successfully eliminated the problem, it’s time to change the law.