Head-shots rule on fast track

Pierre Lebrun

The wheels are in motion regarding the fast-tracking of the new head-shot rule, and we should find out early this week whether it’s a go for this season.

The five players on the NHL/NHL Players’ Association competition committee — Ryan Miller, Jason Spezza, Mathieu Schneider, Jeff Halpern and Brian Campbell — met via conference call Friday afternoon to discuss the rule change, a few hours after receiving a DVD from the NHL explaining what will be deemed legal and illegal hits under the new rule.

The five players on the committee were discussing it further with players on the executive board and their own teammates this weekend, and it’s expected they’ll have a decision early in the week. The NHLPA will then relay that decision to the NHL. The belief is the players’ association will back the new rule, which will include only a provision for supplemental discipline regarding blindside hits for this season. (The rest of the new rule, a minor and major penalty for blindside hits, will be introduced next season.)

In the meantime, while the players appear close to a decision, the final body to vote on the new rule is also ready. The NHL has asked the board of governors (owners) to get back to it by Tuesday on the new rule. The league needs a 30-0 vote to pass a new rule in midseason. While some people wonder if it will get that unanimous vote, one governor I spoke to Saturday said the vote would not be in doubt.

“I’d be shocked [if] we didn’t get a 30-0 vote,” he said.

So the key in all of this is the players. The league needs a yes vote from the five players on the competition committee. We’ll soon find out if it gets it.

As a side note, Toronto Maple Leafs players had a meeting last week with NHLPA divisional rep Rob Zamuner (they met to replace departed reps Matt Stajan and Ian White with new reps Mike Komisarek and Phil Kessel); but the discussion with Zamuner shifted to the new head-shot rule, and the Leafs players told him they unanimously agreed to fast-track it.

“But I wish the league would have taken care of this last summer like we [the players] had asked them to,” veteran Leafs blueliner Francois Beauchemin told ESPN.com on Saturday.


One Response to Head-shots rule on fast track

  1. leafy says:

    Langhow in good condition in hospital. This is encouraging news. For a while there, this looked serious.

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