NHL considers instituting blindside rule without PA approval

Darren Dreger

3/24/2010 11:36:25 AM

The National Hockey League is growing tired of waiting for the NHLPA to respond to the league's plan to introduce supplemental discipline for a blindside hit where the head is targeted.

The NHL has indicated that it expects to hear from the Player's Association at some point today, and the hope is the union will work together with the league to implement the change in time for tonight's games.

However, if the PA does not approve, the NHL has indicated it will consider moving forward without the players' approval.

On Tuesday, the NHLPA issued the following statement in response to an NHL Board of Governors vote unanimously supporting the rule change.

"Under the CBA, the League's proposal cannot take effect until it first receives the support of the joint NHLPA/NHL Competition Committee, and then is endorsed by the NHL Board of Governors.  To date, the Competition Committee has neither agreed on a proposal, nor forwarded a proposal to the Board of Governors for its vote."

This statement issued by NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon received a swift response from NHL deputy commissioner, Bill Daly.

"Our Board can enact rule changes at any time with or without Competition Committee approval. To the extent the Competition Committee has approved the rule change in advance, it is entirely insulated from PA challenge. To the extent it is not a Competition Committee-approved rule, the PA is free to challenge under whatever "theory" they may have available to it. We have been attempting to work through the PA and the Competition Committee for 10 days now on what the League considers to be a very important issue. To the extent we do not receive NHLPA or Competition Committee sign-off or approval, we will consider all available options and make a decision in the best interests of the League and the players.  In that event, and regardless of what we decide to do with this rule, the process, unfortunately, will lead many to the conclusion that the Competition Committee overlay and structure has failed to realize the vision that created it, and will necessarily have to be revisited in collective bargaining."