Just by coincidence I talked to Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin yesterday morning about what it was like to play in the Ontario Hockey League with a “checking to the head” rule on the books.
Our conversation took place some 10 hours before Daniel Paille was shown the gate for his lateral hit to the head of Dallas forward Ray Sawada last night in Boston’s 6-3 win at TD Garden.
“I think the only thing it could do is help. I don’t think there are any negatives that would come out of that. I’m all for it,” said Seguin.
The OHL rule empowers the referee to assess a minor penalty for any check to the head, including a shoulder check. A major and game misconduct can also be assessed based on the referee’s discretion about the severity of the hit. Like many of his fellow NHLers, Seguin admitted the strict no-headshot rule was tough to play through because of the risk of accidental contact that could be punished. But it didn’t take away from the physicality of the game.
“I think if headshots are going to happen, it’s going to happen. I think a rule is just going to [bring] the consequence,” he said. “But I mean a lot of times, headshots, you’re not really thinking, you just kind of go in there, try to finish your check and he can move out of the way and you’re still trying to hit him, and you elbow him in the face. I think rules would be more consequences than change the way you play.”