Guerin: Head hits should be outlawed

Updated: March 12, 2010, 3:53 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Bill Guerin says the NHL must outlaw hits to the head.

That includes the kind of hit leveled by Guerin's teammate Matt Cooke against Boston Bruins center Marc Savard.

If a guy gets hurt like that with a shot to the head, there's got to be something.

-- Bill Guerin

Savard is out indefinitely with a Grade 2 concussion sustained during a shoulder-to-head hit by Cooke on Sunday, but Cooke was not suspended.

NHL enforcement chief Colin Campbell said precedent was set when the Flyers forward Mike Richards wasn't suspended for a similar hit on Florida forward David Booth late last year.

NHL general managers recommended during their meeting Wednesday that a blind-side hit to the head -- or the kind Cooke inflicted upon Savard -- should not be permitted.

Guerin had expected Cooke to be suspended.

"If a guy gets hurt like that with a shot to the head, there's got to be something," Guerin said. "Actions happen. Guys don't mean to hurt each other, but they do. You got to pay a price for that."

Guerin said players must know they can play the game with protection against hits to the head, especially those that a player can't see coming.

"We're all under the same umbrella, whether the guy's on my team and I'm sitting right next to him or he's playing in California," Guerin said. "It doesn't matter. We're all playing in the same league. We all want the same safety. We all want to be looked after the same way. I understand he [Cooke] is on my team but, hey, he's in a tough spot."

The Penguins play the Bruins for the fourth and final time this season March 18 in Boston.

Cooke has been suspended previously for hard hits.

Cooke was suspended two games this season for a hit to the head of Rangers center Artem Anisimov. He also drew a two-game suspension for hitting Carolina forward Scott Walker in the head on Jan. 20, 2009.

Cooke was not suspended for a knee-to-knee hit on Carolina's Erik Cole that occurred during last season's Eastern Conference finals.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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