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Published: Friday, 6/25/2010

NHL-League approves rule to penalize hits to head


LOS ANGELES — The NHL board of governors approved a rule to penalize hits to the head following a season where a number of devastating hits caused major injuries and went without punishment.

In a statement released late Thursday, the NHL said a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct — the suspension of a player for the rest of that game — can be issued for hits where an opponent's head is targeted or is the principle point of contact. Supplementary discipline can also be applied.

The new rule was recommended in March by the league's 30 general managers after three days of meetings where the issue of head injuries dominated discussions.

One of the more notable infractions that went without a penalty came in March when Boston's Marc Savard was sidelined with a concussion for the rest of the regular season and start of the playoffs after a hit from Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke.

Florida's David Booth missed 45 games last season after suffering a concussion from a hit by Philadelphia's Mike Richards that also did not draw a penalty.

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