Aiming to reduce hits to head

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

The NHL's 30 general managers were all talk but no action when they met yesterday at the Brookstreet Hotel in Ottawa.

Although most of the five-hour discussion was about hits to the head, the GMs decided not to change the overtime format and will also continue discussing the issue of bigger nets through the summer.

"I wouldn't completely rule out the bigger nets. I think that one is coming," Senators GM John Muckler said last night.

"I just don't know what year it's going to be. It could be a year or two down the road."

Nashville Predators GM David Poile is leading the charge for larger nets in a bid to increase scoring.

But the GMs' focus yesterday was on a proper way to punish players who commit head shots, which have become a major part of the game. The league will come up with a proposed rule and get back to the GMs at their meeting in July.

"We all agree something has to be done with hits to the head, but nothing is set in stone," said Muckler. "We all agreed what we have to do is come up with a kind of terminology for a rule that is going to make hits to the head itself illegal."

HIT VIEWED

A hit by Senators winger Chris Neil on Buffalo Sabres centre Chris Drury in a game last February was shown to the general managers several times.

"Everybody agreed it was legal," Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said of the hit. "The concern is with less obstruction in the league now, guys are allowed to take liberties with hits to the head with the shoulder.

"You want to do what's right, but you don't want to take hitting out of the game either. We all know there shouldn't be hits to the head."

There was talk the GMs might propose a change to the OT format. However, the discussion was brief and the status quo will remain.

"There were a lot of traditionalists sitting around the table and they want to keep overtime the way it is," said Muckler. "There have been about 100 overtime games this year and only seven have gone more than two periods."


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