"One of the aspects that drove our managers to make this decision, something like 50 percent of our concussions came from hits that were delivered from the side -- call it the blind side for lack of a better term. Our managers felt that by getting rid of this particular hit, it would certainly reduce concussions in the game."
-- Colin Campbell
It's Rule 48 in the NHL's official rulebook for the 2010-11 season and highlighted in yellow so as to make no mistake about its implementation and importance.
Illegal checks to the head, defined as "a lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact is not permitted," will now be subject to a five-minute major penalty and automatic game misconduct, as well as possible supplemental discipline if deemed appropriate by the League.
In a conference call Tuesday that included NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations
and Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Terry Gregson, the point was driven home repeatedly that as the game has evolved and players have become bigger and stronger, the need arose to better protect them from injuries caused as a result of hits to the head.