NHL GMs to focus on head shots at Florida meetings Staff

3/14/2011 10:43:56 AM

The pressure will be on 30 NHL general managers over the next three days as they take part in their annual meeting at Boca Raton, Florida.

To no one's surprise, head shots will be the biggest topic this week, as the executives try to find ways to reduce the rising number of concussions and head injuries.

The talks are being held against a wide backdrop of controversy over the last few months. Sidney Crosby, the league's premier player and spokesperson, is still out with a concussion and has only begun skating on Monday.

There's also pressure from fans, front offices and corporate Canada to improve in-game safety after Bruins captain Zdeno Chara's hit on Montreal's Max Pacioretty that drove him into a stanchion.

"There's tremendous pressure to at least revisit it (the subject of reducing head injuries in the game)," Sabres general manager Darcy Regier told The Buffalo News over the weekend.

All sorts of ideas will be suggested, ranging from harsher suspensions to an outright ban on head shots.

The NHL introduced Rule No. 48 last year, which says that, "a lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact is not permitted." A five-minute major penalty is given for violation of the rule, along with potential fines and suspensions.

"I don't think it's an issue that's going to go away," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday. "So I think it's something we're going to have to discuss and find out how we can protect the players. But as much as people are looking for the league to take a stance, I believe the players also have to take a stance."

Follow for news and updates throughout the NHL general managers' meetings.