NHL GM's discuss headshot penalty, shootouts at meeting

TSN.ca Staff
6/2/2010 8:35:34 PM
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NHL general managers met in Philadelphia on Wednesday to go over a number of subjects, including how to deal with head shots and changing the overtime format.

The league's brain trust spent significant time discussing the addition of a major penalty and a game misconduct for east-west, back pressure, or blind side hits; as well as handing out supplemental discipline.

"It's not something that we want our referees guessing at, but it's something that we'll have to describe to them about exactly what we want," explained NHL senior vice-president of hockey operations Colin Campbell. "If they do catch it on the ice, they can assess a five-minute penalty."

The recommendation of the penalty would have to pass through the NHL-NHLPA competition committee, and would also require the board of governors' approval before being introduced next season.

"One thing for sure is that if you have impact on the game, as well as just penalizing the player with supplemental discipline, then you're going to have another level of deterrent for this type of action," said Montreal Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier. "People want to win games and they're going to make sure that the players do the right things, or don't do the wrong things."

"It's one thing to suspend a player, but that has no impact on the game. It doesn't penalize the team for that game, and our feeling is that it should be five and a game," explained Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke. "It goes to the Competition Committee next and then the Board of Governors. I can't imagine that there would be any opposition to it - we have to take that hit out of the game."

The GMs also spent time discussing shootouts and the contention that there were too many games decided by the format last season.

General managers were asked to think about the options that may be considered to curb shootouts, and planned to discuss the options in future meetings.

Nothing was tabled, however longer overtimes and four-on-four that shifts to three-on-three were among the possibilities.

Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland proposed overtime be extended from five minutes to either eight or 10 minutes.

In the former configuration, it would be two 4-minute segments; the first one played four-on-four and the second one played three-on-three.

In the latter, it would be five minutes of four-on-four and five minutes of three-on-three.

Holland believes that too many games are going to the shootout and would rather see extra effort to settle the games in a longer overtime period.

Burke agreed with Holland, saying there are an unreasonable number of games decided in the shootout, but said he and the majority of general managers don't consider it a pressing issue.

Changes to the overtime format are not anticipated for the 2010-11 season, but it is likely to be the subject of future discussion.

Pierre Gauthier (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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