Dreger: NHL considering 'blindside' rule before end of season

Darren Dreger
3/15/2010 2:15:11 PM
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There has been tremendous reaction to the NHL's decision not to suspend Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke for a blindside hit on Boston forward Marc Savard.

That decision, made last Wednesday, was made on the same day the leagues general managers voted unanimously to recommend both a minor and major penalty, plus the potential for supplemental discipline, for a blindside hit where a player targets the head.

While the definition of this rule recommendation is specific to an east-west hit, described as predatory, the purpose of the resulting penalty is to protect future players from injury.

The NHL is now seriously considering the possibility of expediting the approval process to implement the rule before the end of this season.

Rule changes or additions must be endorsed by the joint NHL-NHLPA competition committee and would also require NHL Board approval as well.

It's believed both could be handled electronically with the Board's vote accomplished by fax.

The NHLPA has requested a complete breakdown of the NHL's rule change proposal and also wants specifics regarding the standards that would result in a penalty, along with how the league intends on reviewing the penalty for supplemental discipline.

The PA will discuss the recommendations with its player representatives on the competition committee....Brian Campbell, Jeff Halpern, Ryan Miller, Mathieu Schneider and Jason Spezza, which may take some time.

Although the Players Association has no intention of delaying a safety issue, the players on the competition committee may provide input, or additional details that may enhance what the NHL's general managers are proposing.

Both the league and the union are hopeful the "blindside" will be introduced before the end of the season, however there appears to be a lot of discussion and paper work before that becomes a reality.

Darren Dreger


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