National Hockey League general managers will be on the hot seat next week, pressured to put more teeth into a new rule regarding checks to the head, according to The New York Times.
The GMs, who are holding their annual meeting in Florida, are not likely to ban hits to the head, The Times speculated. But they are expected to make Rule 48, which the GMs devised at their meeting last year, more stringent. Rule 48 bars blindside hits to the head and checks that target the head.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman back in January deemed Rule 48 a success, because even though there were slightly more concussions in pro hockey this season those caused by head shots were down.
But that was then and this is now.
Since then, Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty sustained a concussion after being slammed into a stanchion by Boston Bruin Zdeno Chara. The late hockey enforcer Bob Probert was found to have been suffering from a degenerative brain disease that’s been blamed on repeated head injuries. And NHL player Sidney Crosby has been off the ice for two months after being hit in the head and suffering a concussion.
Most recently, Air Canada has threatened to pull its NHL sponsorship if the league doesn’t crack down on violence.
Let’s see what the GMs do.