I don’t always agree with the NHL Department of Player Safety but I appreciate what they’re trying to do. I like the explanatory videos the best because it provides transparency, it promotes a universal language when discussing questionable conduct, and it helps spread the culture. So far though, every video that I’ve seen shows a reviewable offence and explains what makes it dangerous or undesirable. They’re all about what NOT to do.
I think the check to the head threshold is ridiculously suffocating, but if that’s what they want, the NHL Department of Player Safety should make a promotional video two or three times a year of players making smart decisions and putting opponent safety above what’s best for their team.
For example, just last night on Thursday January 7, 2016, the Washington Capitals played against the New York Islanders. Alexander Ovechkin is everything the league wants in terms of flamboyant yet charming personality, passion, and scoring supremacy. He’s turned himself into a marquee guy and the league is better for having him in it.
Islanders forward Anders Lee, at 6’3 and 227 pounds, had a chance to literally erase Ovechkin from his family tree.
At roughly 11:00 minutes of the second period, the Great Eight got a small head of steam, put his head down, and cut right across the middle of the high slot to release his feared wrister. This is arguably the greatest goal scorer of all time in a prime shooting area and in position where he is legally eligible to be hospitalized. Anders Lee lines him up, and then heroically lets off the hit. He turns his body away from Ovechkin, slams on the brakes and lets Ovechkin softly bump into him. Anders Lee had the chance to put his team at a great advantage and just plain didn’t. As far as the Department Of Player Safety guidelines this was the poster play for what TO do. All they need is the poster.