Friday night Evan Brophey became the latest player to add fuel to the blindside head shot debate. And its likely he’s going to face a multi-game suspension due to a decision he made in the blink of a eye.
NHL observers who recall Joe Thornton’s check on David Perron back on November 4, 2010 would find that as a comparable hit.
Brophey had just stepped out of the penalty box mid-way through the third period with the IceHogs up 3-1.
A diagonal Hamilton pass through the neutral zone put Bulldogs’ forward Hunter Bishop in the direct line of Brophey as rejoined the play. Brophey took a step or two and launched himself into Bishop. Brophey is 6-3. Bishop is 6-foot.
“Obviously it was a bad hit,” a conciliatory Brophey said after the game.
“It was to his head. And my intentions were to just go shoulder to shoulder. But it was a blindside hit and I feel bad. And I’m sorry about that hit.”
Brophey has never been thought of as a dirty player, or one who takes cheap shots while an opponent is in a vulnerable position. On Friday though, a split-second decision to separate Hunter Bishop from the puck in the neutral zone put Brophey in the eye of the current state of head shots, blind side hits and players putting some respect for each other back into the game.
Conventional hockey thinkers would say Brophey did what he was supposed to do. Except he overshot his target when striking Bishop’s head.
“It was an unfortunate situation where I had just come out of the box and the puck came to him,” Brophey explained in his own words. “So, I was trying, like I said, to go shoulder to shoulder. But I clipped him right in the head, straight on. You know, I feel bad and I apologize for that.”