A vicious elbow to any head is an assault. An elbow covered with hard plastic and delivered with forceful muscle to a persons head can cause serious injury. It is not hard to prove that this is an assault. The defense would be based on consent.When a player consents to a fight he can not be heard to complain about it if he suffers injury. This is covered by the Latin maxim known as "Volenti non fit injuria". This maxim has saved the NHL a special place. But but! There are public limits to the amount of injury a player can consent to. These are defined by the courts. And they include any injury that is long lasting or PERMANENT. The present day happenings on the ice exceeds the allowable limits as defined in a criminal court and need a public review in a criminal court. Not by the NHL. The NHL has shown itself unable to define this appropriately
The present violence happening on the ice whereby the star players are targeted so as to cause injury and take them out of the game thereby enhancing the offender's teams chances of winning is criminal. The state of Pennsylvania or the Province of BC needs to charge the offenders with assault and send them to jail and seek a sentence of years that will be a serious deterrent to others. THIS needs to happen now and put an end to the violence that has over taken the NHL.
Danial Sedin got an elbow to the head from Duncan Keith from the Chicago Blackhawks that has taken Sedin, the number 1 scorer with the Canucks, out of the playoffs and thereby affecting Vancouver's chances of winning the Stanley Cup. No player when the agrees to play NHL hockey can consent to that kind of violence. This is dictated by public policy not by social bullies like Don Cherry, Shanahan or some other idiot passing himself off as an analyst on some sports show and saying "oh this is playoff hockey" Fuck you. There is no hockey that allows an infringement of "Volenti non fit injuria", as dictated by the public interests, as defined by a criminal court.
Additionally the NHL has shown an inability to be consistent. When Duncan Keith delivered his intentional vicious elbow to Danial Sedin's head he got 2 minutes from O'Hallaran. When Byron Bitz with Vancouver delivered his intentional but less vicious elbow to Kyle Clifford's head he got 5 minutes, and a game misconduct from O'Rourke allowing LA to score a goal and affect the outcome of the game. Why the difference? Unless you are trying to affect the games outcome. Why the inconsistency? The Vancouver Canucks, a Canadian team, always get the short end of this inconsistency. Why?