NHL GMs recommend changing instigator rule
The instigator rule was the hot topic of discussion on the second day of the NHL's general manager meetings in Naples, Fla.
The league's GMs agreed Tuesday that therule should be modified, but any changes would first have to be approved by the NHL's competition committee (comprised of players and GMs) and the league's board of governors.
Opponents of the current instigator rule — with a player picking up three instigator penalties warranting a two-game suspension — say it should be modified or abolished because it makes it impossible for tough guys to protect star players such as Pittsburgh Penguins phenom Sidney Crosby, 19.
GMs want the penalty threshold to change from three to five penalties.
As of Feb. 15, 47 instigator penalties had been called this season, up from 39 in the same number of games last year. Even though only one player has been handed the two-game suspension for accumulating three instigator penalties, many GMs feel the rule makes players think twice about fighting.
"Among other things, it means a skilled player doesn't have to fight," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "This wouldn't be the first time that we adjusted this. You fine-tune it and if you need to adjust it again you do."
Other recommendations were also made Tuesday.
Theyincluded minor modifications to video replay (putting referees in direct contact to the war room at the league's head office in Toronto), and going to a one-minute penalty in overtime instead of the traditional two minutes
Those changes would also need to be approved by the competition committee and board of governors.
Talks about going to three points for a regulation-time victory was pushed back to Wednesday, the final day of meetings.
With files from the Canadian Press