Coyotes winger Shane Doan was the third player to be suspended because of the NHL’s new policy against blindside hits to the head enacted in March. While I’m all for protecting players from blindside hits on the ice, there is a big difference between what Shane Doan did to Ducks winger Dan Sexton and the dirty hit Matt Cooke delivered to Marc Savard that caused the rule.
Doan didn’t seem to be going for Sexton’s head with his hit while Cooke’s was nothing but a cheap shot. Regardless, the NHL is cracking down on anything deemed a dangerous blindside hit to the head. I think the area they need to distinguish between is intent. Was it Doan’s intention to level Sexton, or just to hit him in the middle of the ice? I didn’t think there was any malicious intent by Doan with his hit, but the NHL still docked him three games. Here’s a video of Shane Doan’s hit on Dan Sexton in case you missed it, plus comments from Doan below:
Doan talked about the suspension on Tuesday saying, “I disagree with it. I was pretty shocked that I got suspended, let alone for three games. Everything in the rules says the onus is on the hitter. I deliberately didn’t hit him in the head.” In the rest of the audio provided by FOX Sports Arizona, you can also hear Doan call out Ducks analyst Brian Hayward for exaggerating in his reaction on TV. Doan says Hayward should understand the hit as a former player, and I agree with Doan’s main point: intent is the critical factor the NHL must examine when doling out punishments.