One very astute follower to this blog made note of a legal hit that was made recently in Pittsburgh (see comments to “HOCKEY — ALL STARS PART 2”).  Naturally, I felt the need to see the hit he was referring to.  All I can say is “Wow…those are a couple of tough athletes!

I have placed the link to the video of this hit below, but before you click on it, be warned that if you do not follow hockey, your first reaction will be something along the lines of “THAT GUY SHOULD BE KICKED OUT OF THE LEAGUE”, or something very similar.  Then you will probably turn on me for admiring this action.

But I must ask you to be patient.  Put down the torches and pitchforks and watch the video again.  There are a couple of key items that cannot go unnoticed.  First, look at the actual hit carefully.  Although Brooks Orpik does indeed lower his shoulder, he is not leading with his stick, he is not directing his hit directly at Jeff”s head and he does not drive him into the boards.

Second, the referee only issued a penalty after seeing that Skinner was still down on the ice, and that was more out of feeling obligated to do something.  His first instinct was to let it go.

Finally, pay close attention to the players on the Carolina bench.  The hit took place right in front of them, yet only one player reacts.  For the rest of them, it was just another play.  Even after Skinner finally got up and began skating around, nobody on Carolina was looking to go after anybody on the Penguins.  If this was a cheap shot, gloves would have been scattered and two or three fights would have broken out instantly.

Why, you may ask?  Because this game has some of the toughest athletes in world!  (Hmmm, where have I heard that before?!)



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