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Bob McKenzie
11/23/2006 6:45:48 PM


Much to the chagrin of the Detroit Red Wings, the NHL has decided not to pursue supplementary discipline against Canuck defenceman Willie Mitchell for his high, hard hit on Johan Franzen Wednesday night. So the net result stands as a two-minute minor for interference.

But the Mitchell hit on Franzen could yet be something of a turning point in the head shot debate that has been ongoing in the wake of devastating hits on Trevor Letowski, Aaron Downey, Jason Williams and now Franzen.

While most general managers have been adamant that hitting is part of the game and the occasional shoulder to the head is the cost of doing business in an often violent sport, quite a number of them didn't like the Mitchell hit on Franzen.

They thought it was a late hit and now, instead of picking up the flag on the cause of headshots, their rallying cry seems to be, let's crack down on late hits.

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Then the issue becomes ...
"late hit" vs. "finishing your check"

That quantifiable time after the puck leaves your stick before being no longer eligible to receive a hit will become fun to set and enforce.

 
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