NHL general managers agree to recommendation on head shots
NHL general managers unanimously agreed Wednesday to recommend a rule change regarding hits to the head to the league's competition committee.
The following recommendation will be forwarded to the committee: "A lateral, back pressure or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or principal point of is not permitted." A hit that would meet these parameters would be penalized by either a minor or major penalty and could be reviewed for further discipline.
If the recommendation is approved by the competition committee, it will need to be ratified by the NHL Board of Governors before it goes into effect. There's a chance the recommendation could become a rule in time for the 2010-11 season.
"This is a great next step to take these types of hits out of our game and to deal with the perpetrators appropriately," Florida general manager Randy Sexton said.
There have been several highly publicized hits to the head this season, including one suffered by Florida's David Booth on Oct. 24. Booth was taken off the ice on a stretcher and missed 45 days with a concussion. He is playing again for the Panthers.
"Hockey is a physical game and we want to maintain the physicality, but we want clean physical play," Sexton said. "We want to maintain the integrity of the game."
[Updated, 4:51 p.m.: The competition committee says it looks forward to reviewing the general managers' recommendation.
"Hits to the head, including blindside hits, are important issues facing the NHLPA membership," said players' association spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon in a statement. "In order to appropriately address these issues, the NHLPA's competition committee members will thoroughly review this proposal and gather feedback from the membership prior to the committee's meeting this summer."
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-- Austin Knoblauch