COLLINGWOOD – With the league’s decision not to suspend Ryan Malone for his hit on Chris Campoli
, it's clear the line is still being drawn on the subject of headshots in the NHL.
After Malone was issued a game misconduct for a questionable hit on Campoli during Saturday’s tilt between the Habs and the Lightning, exactly what constitutes a hit to the head becoming a suspendable offence was once again a hot topic following the Canadiens’ morning skate in Collingwood.
Campoli reacted to the league’s decision as he was made aware of the news at the Eddie Bush Arena.
“My first thoughts are that I’m surprised. I don’t necessarily agree with the opinion of the league if this is what they’ve come up with. I think I’m fortunate to be okay, because it was obviously a hit to the head.” expressed Campoli, a member of the NHL/NHLPA’s competition committee.
“You’re going to hear a number of different opinions regarding this and while that’s healthy, it’s also why it’s hard to analyze these hits,” he added. “I realize this happened to me
and I don’t want to be biased because of that – but the issue is hits to the head and I got hit in the head and that’s why I have my opinion.”Mathieu Darche
also took a moment to weigh in on the subject at hand, agreeing that while the grey area surrounding head shots is still in need of definition, steps are being taken in the right direction.
“Something like this is out of our hands, but I think that [Brendan] Shanahan’s been doing a great job since the beginning of the year. Based on the video we saw at the start of the season, this sort of falls into the grey area that they were talking about,” commented the Habs’ winger. “You can ask 50 people and they'll all have different opinions. A hit like that is never good, but like I said before, I think they’ve really cracked down on these things so far and we’ll have to give Shanahan the benefit of the doubt.”
Addressing the media for the first time since going toe-to-toe with 6-foot-4, 219-pound Malone in response to his hit on Campoli, Josh Gorges
fielded questions about the incident, his reaction to it and the NHL’s verdict.
“He did get hit in the head, but these things happen so quick it’s a tough decision for Shanahan to make – seeing all these hits and then deciding if they're good or dirty. I wouldn’t want to have his job,” mentioned the Habs resident warrior, before going on to downplay his actions by pointing out that often, supporting a teammate has nothing to do with helping complete a play.
“We’re five guys together when we’re on the ice and we’re a 23 or 25 man unit off the ice. When one guy goes in, we all go in. That’s our philosophy as a team and if it wasn’t me, somebody else would have done it.
“We wear the same color jersey. Whether I've known Chris for one day or five years we’re on the same team and we're working together to try and reach the same goal. We’re out there to stick up for each other and it’s up to us to prove that to other teams,” added Gorges, suggesting that the real team building for the Canadiens started well before the bus for Collingwood ever hit the road.Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.SEE ALSOPhoto galleryWelcome to Collingwood High note Good morning Quebec