The Department of Player Safety actually got another one right. They announced the suspension of Bruins forward David Backes yesterday for an illegal check to the head of a unsuspecting Blake Coleman in Thursday’s game. Here is the play in question:
A pretty good assessment from a Bruins fan, The Hockey Guy on his YouTube channel. You can see the disappointment on his face with Backes, who Boston overpaid a couple of years ago. He has three goals and seven assists on the season for Boston. He will begin serving a three-game suspension tonight when the Bruins visit Buffalo.
Good job by the Department of Player Safety. They got it right. It was a clear hit to the head that could’ve seriously injured Coleman. As he said, it wasn’t a late hit. But the principal point of contact was the head. A no no in today’s game.
Ironically, Coleman was okay. He scored twice to exact revenge in the Devils’ 4-2 road win over Boston. Here is a better description with good angles of the Backes illegal check to the head that earned him a three-game ban.
Case closed. These are exactly the type of hits the NHL wants to eliminate. Though I doubt they’ll ever disappear completely due to the speed of the game. Penalizing guilty players appropriately and educating them is the key.