NHL headshot rule closer: Hotstove
The NHL is moving quickly on the issue of implementing a blindside headshot rule this season, reported hockey analyst Pierre LeBrun on Saturday during the Hotstove segment of Hockey Night in Canada.
The NHLPA competition committee will advise the players of its decision on the proposed rule early this week, and the NHL's board of governors has been asked to vote on the matter by Tuesday at the latest.
"It should be a 30-0 vote you would think, from the owners," LeBrun said. "Given that the [general managers] were unanimous."
A DVD was sent to the competition committee from the NHL, outlining what is a legal and an illegal hit under the proposed rule, which is why it took until Friday for the committee to hold a conference call to discuss the rule change.
This new rule, which could come before the playoffs begin, will outlaw hits to the side, or "blindside hits," that specifically target the player's head.
The NHL has been put under massive scrutiny to change its stance on these types of hits, as there has been a rash of them this season, often leaving the victim with a concussion.
When Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke slammed Boston's Marc Savard to the ice two weeks ago, the controversy came to a head. The hit likely ended the Bruins forward's season as he suffered a Grade 2 concussion, but Cooke didn't get a penalty nor was he suspended by the league.
But soon after it happened, the NHL began serious discussions to implement a new headshot rule. This rule was supposed to go into effect next season, but has since been fast-tracked in order to put it into effect as soon as possible.
The competition committee consists of Ryan Miller from the Buffalo Sabres, Jeff Halpern of the Los Angeles Kings, Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators, Mathieu Schneider of the Phoenix Coyotes, and Brian Campbell of the Chicago Blackhawks.
They will give the players a recommendation based on their discussions before the players vote.
The NHL's board of governors also needs to approve the rule, and has to secure a unanimous 30-0 vote for it to pass since the change is coming during the season.
"It's time to get that out of the game," Hockey Night analyst Glenn Healy said. "The game has changed since we changed the rules. Now it's time for players and the league to adapt to some of these rule changes and get the gutless stuff out of the game."