NEW YORK (AP) - The NHL ban on hits to the head is getting much clearer.

The league's board of governors approved the change in language Tuesday to a rule that already made some head contact illegal.

The ban, in existence for just over a year, will now apply to any hit that involves contact to the head and shots that target an opponent's head and make it the principal point of contact.

The original wording to Rule 48 applied only to hits that came from the lateral or blindside. Those words have been eliminated. This ban, effective immediately, is in effect for hits anywhere on the ice and from any direction.

The board also gave the OK to changes to Rule 41, which deals with boarding. A penalty will now be given to a player who delivers a hit on a defenseless player that causes him to hit the boards violently or dangerously.

Players must now try to avoid - or limit - contact against an opponent who is deemed to be in a defenseless position.