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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    Stanley Cup Final to begin May 30

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    We don’t know who’s in or where it will begin, but we do know this — the 2016 Stanley Cup Final will begin next Monday.

    From the league:

    The National Hockey League today announced the schedule of dates for the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, which will begin on Monday, May 30. Additionally, Stanley Cup Final Media Day will be Sunday, May 29, in the host city for Game 1.

    The Stanley Cup Final will match the winner of the Eastern Conference Final, either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Tampa Bay Lightning, against the winner of the Western Conference Final, either the St. Louis Blues or San Jose Sharks.

    The club which earned the greater number of points in the 2015-16 regular season standings will have home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final and will host Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, Games 5 and 7. The other club will host Games 3 and 4 and, if necessary, Game 6. The Blues collected 107 points during the regular season, most among the remaining teams, followed by the Penguins (104), Sharks (98) and Lightning (97).

    The start time for all Stanley Cup Final games will be 8 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Group has exclusive coverage of the Final in the U.S., while CBC and TVA Sports have exclusive coverage throughout Canada.

    2016 STANLEY CUP FINAL SCHEDULE
    (all start times 8 p.m., ET)

    Game 1 Monday, May 30
    Game 2 Wednesday, June 1
    Game 3 Saturday, June 4
    Game 4 Monday, June 6
    Game 5* Thursday, June 9
    Game 6* Sunday, June 12
    Game 7* Wednesday, June 15

    This marks the first time the Stanley Cup Final will begin in May since 2012, when the Kings took on the Devils in New Jersey (on the 30th).

    L.A. went on to capture that series in five games, wrapping things up on June 11.

    After two years in Switzerland, Tom Pyatt signs with Sens

    PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 22:  Tom Pyatt #11 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Simon Despres #47 of the Pittsburgh Penguins battle for a loose puck during the game at Consol Energy Center on March 22, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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    Tom Pyatt is back in the NHL.

    Or, at least, back with an NHL organization.

    After spending the last two seasons with Swiss club Geneve Servette, the 29-year-old forward has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators.

    “We’re very pleased that Tom has committed to our organization for next season,” said GM Pierre Dorion in a release. “He has already accumulated a significant amount of experience at both the American and National Hockey League levels and provides us with solid depth at forward. Having spent his last two seasons playing professionally in Switzerland, members of our coaching staff are familiar with his versatility. We’re looking forward to seeing him in training camp.”

    The Sens, of course, just hired a head coach in Guy Boucher who’s spent the last few years in Switzerland. (Also, an assistant coach.)

    Pyatt’s deal is worth $800,000 in the NHL and $200,000 in the AHL.

    Before leaving for Switzerland in August of 2014, Pyatt played 245 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning, scoring 27 goals and 27 assists.

    Report: Star Swedish goalie Lassinantti garnering NHL interest

    LULEA, SWEDEN - FEBRUARY 03: Max Gortz of Frolunda Gothenburg looks to score past Joel Lassinantti of Lulea Hockey during the Champions Hockey League Final match between Lulea Hockey and Frolunda Gothenburg at Coop Norrbotten Arena on February 3, 2015 in Lulea, Sweden.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
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    Joel Lassinantti, the 23-year-old that captured the 2014-15 SHL Goalie of the Year, is reportedly on the radar of some NHL teams.

    Per Swedish nets outlet NSD, Lassinantti’s agent confirmed there is interest in his client, who’s coming off a solid ’15-16 campaign with Lulea. He went 22-11-0 with a 1.95 GAA and .921 save percentage.

    If he signs in North America, Lassinantti will definitely be one to watch.

    Why? Well, he’d be majorly bucking the current trend of skyscraper goalies. He’s listed at just 5-foot-9, but hat diminutive frame hasn’t kept him from excelling at nearly every stage.

    Prior to his success with Lulea, Lassinantti captured silver with Sweden’s entry at the 2013 World Juniors. At that tourney, he split time with Oilers prospect Niklas Lundstrom, finishing with a .915 save percentage and 2.42 GAA.

    And as mentioned above, he captured last season’s Honken Trophy as Sweden’s top goalie — which is a real feather in his cap.

    The winner prior to Lassinantti, Linus Ullmark, is coming off a pretty solid campaign in Buffalo and this year’s winner, Lars Johansson, just signed with the Chicago Blackhawks.

    On the brink of elimination, Blues turn back to Elliott

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    The St. Louis Blues are going back to the guy who got them this far.

    Brian Elliott will start in goal tomorrow in San Jose.

    Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock made the announcement Tuesday, the day after Jake Allen allowed four goals on just 25 shots in a 6-3 loss that put St. Louis on the brink of elimination.

    Allen also started Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. The Blues won that contest, 6-3, with Allen stopping 31 of 34 shots.

    But those were the only two games that Allen has started this postseason. That’s because Elliott had been mostly excellent before getting yanked in Game 3. His save percentage in these playoffs is .925, compared to Allen’s .897.

    Hitchcock said he hopes the break has allowed Elliott to “reset” after the “mental drain” of starting the first 17 games of the playoff.

    “We needed the jolt from Jake, we got it to get back into the series,” Hitchcock told reporters, per the Post-Dispatch. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win yesterday but this has been Brian’s playoffs and we’d like him to finish the job.”

    Related: A ‘no-brainer’ — Elliott will start Game 7 for Blues