TSN's Dave Hodge sounds off on all the hockey issues of the day in Hodgemail.
It's usually a time to hold talks about the state of the game, jot down a few suggestions and perhaps fit in a round or two of golf.
But not this time around.
With the rise of concussions and last week's injury to Max Pacioretty, there's serious pressure on the GMs to make big changes in safety awareness and how the game should be played. Suffice it to say, these meetings are already considered the most important in recent league history.
And there are other topics for discussion as well.
As outlined in The Dreger Report last week, further consideration will be given to the concept of a Coach's Challenge, changing the existing overtime structure and game alterations following testing at last summer's Research and Development camp in Toronto.
So much to discuss and so little time.
So here was Dave's question to you: "If you could send one suggestion to the NHL GMs in Florida, what would it be?"
"If you hit a player's head, intentionally or not, you're suspended. And don't say, 'It's not that simple' - it is." - Blaise, Moose Jaw, SK
"Why is it taking so long for the NHL to adopt no-touch icing?" - Rick, Miramichi, NB
"Bring back the enforcer and let him enforce. It's time to go back in time to the days when the players dealt with these issues....on the ice." - Scott, Toronto
"Listen to Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby. Surely everyone should listen when they speak." - Ron, Grand Manan, NB
"Bodychecking should be used as a way of obtaining the puck, not as a way of punishing or hurting the opponent. There is too much 'intent to injure.' " - Bob, Markham, ON
And Dave's reply to all:
Well, simple message from me. And I'll use the words of the commissioner himself.
Gary Bettman said yesterday: "We want to do everything we can to minimize injuries." Everything possible. So there's a lead for the GMs to follow.
And now I'll use Bettman's numbers, though not his words from now on. Eight percent of concussions are caused by fighting - ban fighting. 17 percent of concussions are caused by illegal hits - punish the illegal hitters much more severely. 44 percent of concussions are caused by hits that are allowed - make some of them illegal. Those would be the head hits. Now you have done everything you can to reduce almost 70 percent of the reported concussions - the non-accidental ones we'll say.
Funny thing, but I'm guessing that none of that is universally embraced by the general managers. And until there's a firm position declared by the players' association on those specific matters, I will guess that the players aren't ready to take drastic action, either.
So ... better to say you'd like to minimize injuries and leave it at that, than to pretend you want to do everything possible.