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Leo Komarov suspended 3 games for hit on McDonagh; Cracking down on dangerous hits

Bobby Bevilacqua

McDonagh hunched over

Ryan McDonagh being helped off of the ice after being hit in the head by Toronto forward Leo Komarov. Photo courtesy of Rick Madonik/Toronto Star.

Following his elbow to the head on New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, the NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended Toronto forward Leo Komarov for three games, his first offense in the league. He will also forfeit $47,580.66 based on his average annual salary and the terms of the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Komarov was clearly targeting McDonagh’s upper body region, and took quite a few strides before reaching and extending his elbow and making contact with McDonagh’s head.

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NHL to implement new concussion spotters for 2015-16 season

Bobby Bevilacqua

In a move to combat the head injuries and concussions that have plagued the sports world recently, the NHL will begin mandating league-designated and trained spotters for every single game this season.

Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty (67) falls on the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Sunday, April 5, 2015 in Sunrise, Fla. Pacioretty left the ice after being interfered with by Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov of Russia,  then falling backwards into the boards after his skate made contact with defenseman Alex Petrovic's. The Canadiens defeated the Panthers 4-1. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Max Pacioretty lies dazed after a big hit in a game against the Florida Panthers. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

There will be two spotters at every game, one for each team. They will be sponsored and trained by the league. However, each team has the right to designate their own concussion spotter for each game. This may be preferred, because that person would have the team’s best interests in mind, and they would know the players and their tendencies well.

According to Bill Daly, the NHL deputy commissioner, most teams have indicated that they’d prefer to go with a team-sponsored spotter, but having the league-mandated spotters gives teams another possibility. If the team spotter gets sick or can’t make it, there will be backups in a sense. (LINK)

Unlike the NFL, the spotters do not have the same power as they do in football. NFL concussion spotters have the power to stop a game and remove a player if they are showing clear signs of a concussion. This is known as the Julian Edelman Rule, named after the New England Patriots wide receiver. In the Super Bowl, Edelman took a nasty hit and appeared woozy, but stayed in the game to make some key catches, despite a spotter calling down to the sideline and asking for him to be removed. Read the rest of this entry