The National Hockey League isn’t dragging its feet on the concussion issue. It is looking to adopt a rule that would ban blind-side checks to the head this season, according to several published reports Thursday.
NHL general managers met in Boca Raton, Fla., last week to essentially craft a ban on what are often called head shots. The group initially wanted to prohibit blind-side checks for next season, but then some of them pushed to have the process fast-tracked, so officials can impose penalties on those who engage in blind-side head checks this season. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/18/sports/hockey/18hits.html?ref=sports
The general managers moved for the quick action in the wake of a March 7 incident involving Boston Bruin Marc Savard, who may be out the rest of the season. He suffered a concussion after the Penguins Marr Cooke gave him a blind-side hit. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/17/sports/la-sp-nhl-head-hit-20100318
Under the proposed NHL rule, such a hit would result in a two-minute or five-minute penalty. Cooke wasn’t penalized for his hit on Savard because currently blind-side hits to the head are legal in pro hockey.
The New York Times reported that on Wednesday the NFL office in Toronto started handing out a video that depicted what will and will not be permitted under the blind-side head check ban.
The proposed ban on the blind-side checks will have to be approved by the NHL competition committee, and which is comprised of five general managers and five players.
The Times says that the committee is expected to approve the ban, which has been advocated by the NHL players’ union. Then the ban would have to be approved unanimously by the NHL board of directors.