Not sure how you see Ramage's shoulder going into the Oliver's face, looks clearly to be hitting him in the shoulder on all the replays. Major point of impact is low causing the guy's stick to snap like a twig. Ramage doesn't leave his feet at all or charge leading up to the hit in any way. The check couldn't have been any cleaner. When I saw Ramage getting a penalty I was shaking my head in disbelief. Then, after a 5 minute discussion by the officials, they tossed him. It was absolutely jaw dropping.
His shoulder very cleary hits the guy in the facemask. Doesn't make it a dirty hit or even a penalty, but there was contact with the head. I don't know the college rule, and going by NHL rules I wouldn't call it a penalty. I wouldn't say the head was targetted or the principle point of contact.
Just saying that with all the attention on head hits and concussions, I can understand why a call was made.
...Like Newfy commented, hockey used to be a contact sport. Anyone that played hockey from Bantam level on needed to learn that if you come through the neutral zone with your head down like Oliver did you had a good chance of getting flattened. These type of calls you feel are "questionable" are on the rise. The more calls made like this, the more players will pull up from making a body check to avoid a possible penalty, and the more players with feel comfortable skating through the middle with their heads down. The sport of hockey, just like anything in life, adapts to the constructs of the environment it is in.
Hockey is always changing. It's never the same as we "knew it". Apparently it is changing for the better in your opinion, which is cool. I like how someone like Kronwall plays and don't want to have to worry if every big check he makes will end up in a suspension along with a 5 on 5 scrum. Personally I enjoy a nice solid body check as part of the game and don't think it should be legislated out of the sport. How many of these "bad calls" would we have seen 10 years ago? Buppy said he would have given the hitter a pass. No s***, because it was clearly a horrible call. One that no ref would have even contemplated anytime before 2 years ago. That is the entire point.......
There's a reason slippery slope arguments are considered fallacious. Refs are probably a little over-zealous when calling headshots. That doesn't mean it won't improve as refs and players adapt to the new rules, and certainly doesn't mean that refs will become over-zealous in calling other types of hits.
I get where you're coming from Harold, but I think you're comparing a bit of apples to oranges here.
(Apples)Clutching, grabbing, and hooking are considered universaly to be undesirable aspects in a hockey game. Dats shouldn't have to fight through hooks, and neither should have Gretzky. To call that tighter opens up the game making it better. You're right that the players did adapt and we see less of that god-awful clutching & grabbing now because of the rules being enforced.
(Oranges)Bodychecks on the other hand are a desirable aspect of the game(IMHO). No one wants to see someone get injured obviously, but the game of hockey comes with inherent risks. Concussions being one of them. When calls like this are even in the refs conciousness because of the current climate, it is going to cause that same adaptation we saw with clutching & grabbing occur with hitting.
I think the game should err on the side of no call in these instances. Kronner's type of hits I see as OK. He is always North-South and isn't taking 10 steps(Pronger) before laying into someone. If they don't want to get hit they need to keep their head up(I'm looking at you Havlat). Making the call of feet being on ice before or after contact being made is way to difficult in game speed for refs to determine so shouldn't be a factor IMO. Again, err on the side of the hitter.
No one is trying to get rid of body checks. They are trying to reduce head injuries. I would think that head injuries are more 'universally undesireable' than tapping a guy on the hip or mitts with a stick.
A good arm tackle used to be considered "defense". Used to be fine (sometimes still is) to rub a guy out along the boards after he chips the puck past you. Used to be fine to try to take a guys head off if he didn't see you coming.
Yes, there are inherent risks to the game. However, exaclty what those risks are hasn't been known for long, and I'd bet are still not widely understood by the players. Head injuries can have permanent debilitating effects on people. Players have been getting bigger and faster. Equipment gives better protection so players feel the need to more agressive. As the game becomes more violent, and the risks better understood, you'll get adaptations like this to minimize those risks.
Yeah, maybe you'll see people pulling up on these hits more often. And really, so what? Hits like that happen maybe once a game. If that's all hockey is to you then I'd have to say you're no more a fan of hockey than the guy who tunes into NASCAR for the crashes is a fan of racing. There are big hits that don't involve head contact, and they very rarely result in injury. If anything, I'd expect players to become more adept at laying a big hit without hitting the head.
People always say they don't want to see someone get injured, but it seems to me that is exactly what they want. Maybe not a lasting injury, but you all sure cheer loud enough when someone gets knocked senseless. Well, guess what. That's a brain injury. Maybe not severe, maybe not one that will cause any lasting harm, but an injury just the same. We still do not really understand how those little injuries can add up.
Much better to err on the side of caution. Worst-case we see fewer big hits and fewer injuries. Players are always going to push the envelope; try to get away with as much as possible without crossing the line (or getting caught doing so at least). If you're too lax with the rules, the worst-case is you see a lot more frequent and more severe head injuries. I'd certainly prefer the former.