When the rule came out about hitting from behind I stated, "you watch everyone is going to turn their back when they get the puck." And, sure enough, it's happening and players are getting seriously hurt because of it.
Last week in the Dec 4th issue on Inside the NHL "Hitting from behind or untimely turns" I got to thinking about what I said.
Before this rule was implemented there were a few dirty hits from behind which were penalized. But back then when a player was going for the puck around the boards he was expecting to get drilled into them and usually turned sideways to absorb the hit. Today in the new NHL when a player goes for the puck his back is turned and this is sometimes done deliberately because of the new rule.
So, whose fault is this? As far as I'm concerned it's the player that turned his back to the action. Most of the players in the NHL do have respect for one another and are not out there to intentionally injure someone (after all this is their job and they have families to feed also).
I think the NHL and the players should take a look at this and judge for themselves who was in the wrong when this kind of incident occurs. And believe me, it's going to keep happening until this is looked at seriously.
Bill Coppens, Mississauga, Ont.