Is the NHL/NFL taking hard hits too far?

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By Warren Brannoch

When you are growing up playing in Pop Warner football, you are trained to hit the opposing player hard enough to get the ball loose so that your team can have a good chance at getting the ball back.

In the NHL, you are trained to hit the opposing player in order to have a chance at getting the puck. Apparently that is not the case in the National Football League, or the National Hockey League this year.

Starting this season, the NHL has started to crack down on players hitting a defenseless opponent. Just recently our very own Phoenix Coyotes team captain, Shane Doan was suspended for hitting an Anaheim Ducks player “blindsighted”, for three games, but no penalty was called by the on ice offi cials during the game.

This cost Doan $73,000.00 off of his salary because of the three game suspension. It has impacted the Coyotes deeply, as they have not won a game since his suspension. But how are the players supposed to determine what is a defenseless hit or not? You tell me. The same thing has happened in the NFL this year, as comissioner Roger Goodell stated, “We’re not talking about changing the rules. We’re going to increase the discipline. We’re not changing anything other than discipline.”

As regards to the rule change this season on helmet- to-helmet contact in the NFL.

National Football League fans pay high-dollar amounts to see their team hit hard, and play hard to win the football game. I understand that there have been player injuries and such because of helmetto- helmet contact, but is the new rule taking it too far?

Here are two reasons why the new rule is taking it too far: First of all, if the player who catches the ball puts their head down on the play, to try and break the tackle, the defender must lower their helmet in order to avoid helmet-to-helmet contact, thus making a it a better chance for the player with the ball to break the tackle, and move downfi eld.

Secondly, this is only a plot by the NFL to increase revenue by possibly suspending the player who made the hit, and by having the player pay up to $175,000.00 to the league for the hit too.

Will the NHL and NFL’s popularity and ticket sales decrease, I do not think so, but the expectation to see a hard hitting, hard nosed, physical game will decrease.