Changes coming to all-star game?

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:55 PM ET

TORONTO -- Remember back to those frosty days of road hockey when the two stud players would alternate in the selection of the kids on hand to make up the teams?

The NHL all-star game could soon be following suit. Sort of, anyway.

In the most significant change to come out of the NHL’s GM meetings in Toronto Tuesday, the alteration of the all-star game’s format likely will be implemented for the Jan. 30 contest in Raleigh, N.C.

While the league would not release details, one GM suggested a concept will be adopted in which:

a) Fan voting would still determine the six starters for each team.

b) The NHL's hockey operations department would put together a list of candidates to appear in the contest.

c) The two captains of the respective all-star teams would then select players from the aforementioned list to fill out their rosters, regardless of conference.

In other words, no more East Vs. West or North America Vs. The World.

The selection process reportedly would take place during a live TV event on all-star weekend.

League VP Brendan Shanahan confirmed that the NHL and the NHLPA are working towards an agreement for a new format. Don’t be surprised if an official announcement is released in the coming days.

Here is a rundown of the other topics addressed by the GMs Tuesday:

NO CHALLENGE HERE

Upon further review, the concept of coaches challenging goal calls has been put on the shelf.

Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon had been keen on the idea, a concept loosely based on the NFL’s system of coaches’ challenges.

Tallon had trumpeted the idea after watching his own goaltender, Scott Clemmensen, get interfered with by Toronto’s Colton Orr during a game at the Air Canada Centre Oct. 26. Not only was no penalty called on the play, the puck ended up deflecting off Orr for the winning goal in a 3-1 Maple Leaf victory.

The NHL subsequently admitted that the goal should not have counted.

Tallon’s idea was quickly dismissed by his peers.

“I dont think there are going to be many if any opportunities (to challenge),” Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray said.

Tallon agreed.

“It’s dead,” he said, adding that GMs were concerned that, among other things, such a rule would lengthen games. “You win some, you lose some.”

HEAD GAMES

The GMs seem to be pleased with the way Rule 48 is being called -- that being the rule dealing with blind side shots to the head.

To date, there have been six incidents involving rule 48, including a pair of players who were fined -- Edmonton’s Tom Gilbert and Ottawa’s Nick Foligno -- and suspensions to Phoenix’s Shane Doan and San Jose’s Joe Thornton.

The GMs were shown a video highlighting how Boston’s Zdeno Chara and the St. Louis Blues David Backes backed off when afforded the opportunity to deliver a blind side hit.

Campbell was asked about taller players such as the 6-foot-9 Chara being at a disadvantage because his shoulder is at the level of many players’ heads.

“There is no rule if a guy hits someone straight on shoulder-to-head,” Campbell said. “It’s the blind side shots we are trying to eliminate.”

TWEET THIS!

As for the social media issue - in other words, what and when players tweet - it remains on the agenda when the GMs congregate again in March. Facebook postings also were part of the chat.

“Certainly there should be a policy regarding talking about your club,” Washington Capitals GM George McPhee said.

“We had a player a few years ago disclose during a playoff game that he wasn’t going to be dressed that night. The other team had a pretty good idea of what our lineup was going to be so, you try to discuss that with them and make sure they understand.”

It is believed McPhee was referring to former Cap Donald Brashear.

According to capgeek.com, 51 NHL players have twitter accounts at this time.

EXTRA TIME

The concept suggested by Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland to alter the overtime format has been put on hold.

Under Holland’s idea, overtime would be extended to eight minutes: four minutes of 4-on-4; the remaining four minutes 3-on-3.

The original purpose was to decrease the importance of shootouts. But with shootout points no longer used as tiebreakers in the final standings, coupled with the fact there have been fewer shootouts this season, the urgency to change the system has diminished.

WARMUP WOES

There will be no rules implemented concerning altercations in pre-game warmups. “It’s always the same seven or eight guys involved,” Campbell said.

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