NHLPA proposes 'band aid solution' to head-shot rule

You had to know that the NHL players on the competition committee
would not just outright accept the league’s proposal for a rule change
to take effect this season, that would deem blind-side head shots
illegal.

Today, word came down that the players on the competition
committee — Jason Spezza, Ryan Miller, Mathieu Schneider, Jeff Halpern
and Brian Campbell — have proposed a temporary, ‘band-aid’ solution
for the rest of this season before revisiting a more permanent rule
change this summer.  From
the Canadian Press, via Sportsnet.ca
:

The NHLPA first expressed a desire to see a head-checking penalty in
March 2009. Spezza indicated that the players are in favour of tweaking
the current proposal.

“It’s very similar,” he said. “We’re looking for a Band-Aid fix for the
rest of the year in case something happens, but in the long term, we
have to sit down together and find a better solution than just tweaking a
little rule. It has to be something that’s talked about. It can’t just
be sprung on

“It’s too bad because we’ve been talking for two years to try to get
something in place, but it’s hard to find the proper language and the
right rule.”

I can respect the players’ view on this. The proposed rule change is
part of something that the NHLPA has been trying to institute for couple
of years now, and all of a sudden the NHL proposes something that is
really just a minor tweak to the existing rules.

Making blind-side head shots illegal certainly addresses a very
specific problem, but it is far from taking on the bigger issue of head
shots in general.

David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail feels
a bit differently.

Call me a cynic, but I can’t help
but
think that the NHLPA’s unofficial response today to fast-tracking the
new headshot rule is nothing but an up-yours to the league.

With the headshot rule being a huge
issue with the public, the NHL wanted to get it into effect right away
but now the players are essentially saying, “Hold on just a minute.” By
saying they are willing to approve a temporary rule for the rest of this
season, they are trying to avoid a public backlash.

But the players know the league is highly unlikely to go along with
that. They will say, all right, let’s follow the process and bring it in
next season, and then turn to the public and say, “Hey, we tried.”

I think the players have the right to approve or disprove any rule
changes of this nature, especially when they are off-the-cuff, knee jerk
rule changes by the NHL as the league tries to save face in light of a
PR nightmare.

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    McLellan calls out ‘red-rotten’ performances after loss in Philly

    Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan stands on the bench behind Connor McDavid, left, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins during the second period of a pre-season NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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    The Oilers blew a pair of two-goal leads in last night’s 6-5 loss to the Flyers and, not surprisingly, head coach Todd McLellan wasn’t happy with a number of performances.

    “If you score five, you should be able to win,” McLellan said on Friday, per the Oilers’ Twitter account. “There were some individuals who were red-rotten.”

    It’s not hard to speculate who McLellan was referring to.

    Defenseman Oscar Klefbom scored his fourth goal of the year, but was on the ice for five of Philly’s six goals, and finished minus-4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was minus-3 with three giveaways, and went scoreless.

    McLellan was also displeased with his club’s lack of discipline.

    “One of the things we didn’t want to do was put them on the power play, and we put them on the power play continually,” he said following the game, per NHL.com. “Whether they score or not — I thought our penalty-killers did a tremendous job, [but the Flyers] gain a lot of momentum and energy and belief off of that.”

    Rookie Jesse Puljujarvi took a hooking and holding penalty in a 10-minute span in the first period. The Flyers were unable to capitalize on either power play opportunity, but did seem to generate some energy — as McLellan alluded to — and Puljujarvi was a virtual non-factor for the remainder of the night, finishing with just 7:51 TOI.

    The Oilers are back in action tonight in Minnesota, and are still atop the Pacific Division, so there’s hardly a feeling of panic. That said, they have surrendered 10 goals in their last two games.

    Related: McDavid accuses ‘classless’ Manning of injuring him on purpose

    Darryl Sutter was none too pleased with the Kings last night

    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22:  Darryl Sutter of the Los Angeles Kings reacts as Patrick Marleau #12 of the San Jose Sharks is awarded a penalty shot during the second period of Game Five of the Western Conference First Round in the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on April 22, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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    For the third time this season, the Los Angeles Kings got a bunch of days off, then played like “horse(bleep).”

    That was the conclusion their coach, Darryl Sutter, reached after last night’s 3-1 loss to Carolina at Staples Center. The Kings hadn’t played since Sunday, and Sutter didn’t think his players used their time off too wisely.

    The transcript of Sutter’s post-game press conference, via L.A. Kings Insider:

    … it’s disappointing because it’s the third time this year we’ve had three days between games, and that first game after the three days we’ve been, for lack of a better word, [road apples]. Go back to Philly-Minnesota, San Jose the last time they played in here, and this one here. Our top guys were not very efficient out there maximizing what their God gave ‘em. [Reporter: Is that because they’re taking things for granted, you think?] No, I don’t think that’s the right word. I think the word would be ‘using the time properly to prepare to be a great competitor.’

    The Kings’ record fell to 13-11-2 with the loss. They’re currently fifth in the Pacific Division, though at least they have games in hand on the leaders from Alberta:

    standings

    Of course, nobody has to tell Kings fans that the postseason is no guarantee. Los Angeles won the Stanley Cup in 2014, then missed the playoffs in 2015.

    This season, if the Oilers are for real and the Flames can maintain their recent momentum, it’s going to be a real dogfight for the top three spots in the division. Even the Canucks, who’ve earned points in nine of their last 14, aren’t out of it yet.

    The Kings’ next game is tomorrow at home to Ottawa.

    No hearing for Price after punching Palmieri with blocker

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    Montreal netminder Carey Price won’t be subjected to supplemental discipline after unloading on Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.

    The incident in question occurred with 18 seconds left in the first period of Montreal’s 5-2 win on Thursday. Price, visibly upset following Palmieri’s net drive, repeatedly punched the New Jersey forward in the midsection with his blocker.

    Price received a pair of roughing minors on the play but, as several people pointed out, he could’ve been slapped with a match penalty, based on rule 51.3:

    Match Penalty – If, in the judgment of the Referee, a goalkeeper uses his blocking glove to punch an opponent in the head or face in an attempt to or to deliberately injure an opponent, a match penalty must be assessed.

    Price didn’t appear to strike Palmieri in the head or face, and the “deliberately injure” part is pretty subjective. Which is why some thought this could rise to the level of a disciplinary hearing.

    The Habs ‘tender said he had no regrets about going after Palmieri.

    “I got run on the first goal and I wasn’t going to take another one,” Price said, per the Montreal Gazette. “I got fired up, I guess. I’m going to stick up for myself now.

    “It seems to be the nature of the league, to go hard to the net, run the goalie and score the goal. You have to stick up for yourself once in a while.”

    For the second time this season, Stars activate Hudler off IR

    OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 28: Jiri Hudler #24 of the Calgary Flames looks on during an NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on October 28, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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    The Dallas Stars have activated winger Jiri Hudler off injured reserve.

    Again.

    Hudler has only played four games this season. He was in the lineup for the Stars’ first two games, then missed five with an undisclosed illness. He returned to play twice more, on Oct. 29 and Nov. 1, but has been out ever since due to the same illness.

    “I think now it’s just all about conditioning,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said earlier this week, per the Dallas Morning News. “He’s missed a tremendous amount of time, but he’s got a good week ahead of him here. I don’t know where he’ll be by the end of the week, but I think we can get him five real good days and we’ll see by the weekend where he’s at.”

    The Stars play in Philadelphia tomorrow afternoon, then travel to Chicago for a game Sunday evening.

    Hudler, 32, is with Dallas on a one-year, $2 million contract. He has yet to register his first point with the Stars.

    To make room on the roster, Jason Dickinson was returned to the AHL.