SUN Hockey Pool

Boyle: Be smart and protect yourself

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:30 PM ET

Bryan Murray can see the day when there will be a rule in the NHL banning all contact with the head.

"I don't think it needs to be that dramatic right now," the Ottawa Senators general manager said, "but going forward, we will probably have some kind of head rule at some point. We encourage the game to be fast and players are going to continue to get bigger and faster.

"We're understanding better the effects of a concussion and how they affect you as a person. We're much more aware of how it affects your life and career and we've been trying to do something about it. With all the money involved, I can see there's going to be a time when contact with the head will be banned.

"I can see a time when the players decide that for themselves."

That's going to require a big shift in the mentality of the players.

Dan Boyle knows what it's like to be concussed.

The San Jose Sharks defenceman didn't like it.

With the new rules introduced after the lockout -- no red line, the crackdown on obstruction -- the speed of the game has increased, the violence of the hits increased and with the emphasis on back pressure on the puck, the number of blindside hits increased.

Defencemen have had a target on their backs for speeding forecheckers and Boyle said he's had enough.

He said defencemen should bail on hits for self preservation and to avoid concussions and other injuries.

"It's something nobody talks about," Boyle said, "because guys don't want to look soft, look like (wimps). But I don't care. You've got to be smart going back there (to get the puck). You've got to shield yourself. You've got to shield yourself and don't care what anybody thinks."

Los Angeles Kings coach Terry Murray said the league could take a step to curb hits to the head, not with another rule but by getting rid of one it already has. He's seen the predatory approach evolve since his playing days.

"There wasn't the reckless play we have now. The mentality changed. I never experienced that as a player because the instigator rule was in place. If you went out and injured a player, you paid the price immediately," Murray said.

So, should the league get rid of the instigator penalty?

"Politically it will never happen," Terry Murray said. "But there's a lot of guys doing things they would never do if there wasn't an instigator rule."

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