Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Rick Tocchet: Eliminate instigator rule to control head hits

TAMPA — The league will study whether it should ban hits to the head. But Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said a better idea is eliminating the instigator rule, which penalizes players who intentionally start fights.

Tocchet said the rule protects players who take cheap shots knowing retaliation will be punished.

"Players out there know nothing can happen to them," Tocchet said. "Those are the guys who increase the percentage of head shots. I'd like to see the players control that. You have somebody out of control, then the player is going to have to pay the price."

Hits to the head have gotten a lot of publicity lately because of severe and, some would say, gratuitous blows taken by Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman and Florida's David Booth, among others.

Tocchet agreed the trend is alarming but also said that before the instigator rule, "if you ran around, you had to answer for it no matter what."

He used himself as an example:

"I kneed (Detroit hall of famer) Stevie Yzerman. Whether it was a questionable hit or not, bottom line is I got a five-minute major. I knew the next shift Joey Kocur was coming after me. I had to fight him. Nowadays, I don't know if that happens. That's why you get a lot of guys running around."

Lightning LW Ryan Malone is with Tocchet. He does not want automatic penalties on hits to the head — "If I'm leaning over reaching for the puck and put myself in that position, the first place on my body you're going to hit is my head" — and said the instigator rule should be eliminated.

"Guys will be more accountable," he said. "A guy would definitely think twice about maybe doing something if you know there's a guy on the other team who might beat him up for it."

LINEUP CHANGE: RW Paul Szczechura, called up from AHL Norfolk, played on various lines. F Ryan Craig was scratched.

HEDMAN STRUGGLES: Hedman played after missing one game because of a concussion and had perhaps his worst game.

"I didn't play at my highest level," he said.

Tocchet called him "discombobulated."

Hedman played 24:02 but struggled in his zone and was beaten on a rush by Minnesota C James Sheppard, which led to the Wild's first goal.

"I'll work hard for Saturday (against the Kings), and bring my A game back," Hedman said.

KARMA: After losing victories by giving up last-minute goals to the Devils and Sabres, it was nice to be on the other side of the equation against the Wild, C Steven Stamkos said:

"I was actually thinking that right when we scored. … It's about time we got one of those good bounces, so maybe a little bit of karma there."

ODDS AND ENDS: Trades in the works? Nine teams scouted the game. … Army 1st Lt. Brian Brennan, 25, of Riverview, who lost both legs in May 2008 in Afghanistan when his vehicle was bombed, dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The Lightning will collect nonperishable food items for Metropolitan Ministries on the St. Pete Times Forum Plaza before Saturday's game with the Kings. … Foster and defensemen Matt Smaby and Paul Ranger (personal) also were scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Rick Tocchet: Eliminate instigator rule to control head hits 11/12/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 13, 2009 9:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Abominable Bucs Missing Their Chance


    Of course, they can still win the division.

    They can still make the playoffs.

    Another Sunday, another celebration for the other guys
  2. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  3. No more looking at Jim Harbaugh, but should we look at Notre Dame?


    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Overheard Sunday morning in a hotel elevator, among two Penn State fans: "Did you see Coach Harbaugh's interview? He looked shellshocked. One of those coaches with his job on the line."

    Jim Harbaugh and Michigan are falling out of the national conversation; Sunday they fell out of the AP rankings after a blowout loss to Penn State. [Detroit Free Press/TNS]
  4. NFL Week 7: What we learned


    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  5. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.