GM meetings will tackle blindside hits: Hotstove
The topics of discussion at the upcoming meeting of NHL general managers in Florida were up for discussion on Saturday's edition of the Hotstove panel on Hockey Night in Canada.
Tops on that list will be how to deal with headshots and concussions, and ESPN.com analyst Pierre LeBrun said there would be a multitude of interesting ideas, starting with the possibility of banning all blindside hits.
"We know that Rule 48 bans blindside hits to the head [but] what about all blindside hits: to the hip, the shoulder, to the knee," LeBrun said. "Does that change the culture on the ice?"
Another heated topic will be the suggestion of a mandatory two-minute penalty for any check to the head, a change that injured superstar Sidney Crosby has been calling for, Eric Francis of Sun Media said.
"They have that in junior [hockey] across the country and most levels of hockey [but] interestingly enough, concussions are not down," Francis said. "People think you can eliminate all head hits and concussions will be down. Obviously, there is a linkage there but 70 per cent of all concussions are happening along the boards [from] clean hits."
Set an objective
Mike Milbury said if he were at the GM meetings he would set an overall objective and then ask a committee set up to deal with the issues to come up with a definition of what is an acceptable risk for the players.
"Examine the rules, examine the playing surface, everything that goes on around it … and when the rule changes come and educate the people as to why [they happened]," Milbury said.
"Finally give the masses something to satisfy them. Get rid of the middle stanchion. There's no reason why you can't put two cops there and say, 'Hey, anybody that crosses this line to go to the other bench, you're out for the season.'"
Desert Dogs staying put?
The panel also touched on the continuing saga of the ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Where there is "cautious optimism" in Phoenix this week that there will be enough investors lined up to keep the team in Arizona, LeBrun said "don't worry Winnipeg, it's far from done."