NHLPA approves modified rule for hits to head

savard.jpgIt’s been an awfully bumpy road to get to this spot, but at least the NHL got somewhere when it comes to its head shot epidemic. TSN reports that the NHLPA approved the proposed modifications to the league’s rules regarding hits to the head.

The temporary rule will give league disciplinarian Colin Campbell the power to hand out supplementary discipline for head hits on unsuspecting players for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.

The institution of a permanent rule that includes an on-ice penalty — something NHL general managers recommended two weeks ago — will be discussed over the summer by the competition committee.

You may have noticed that we’ve followed this little saga for quite some time (even if one could argue that the story is far from over). Here’s a collection of links that will serve as a brief timeline of this process.

The Colin Cambell Crisis Collection – A solid anthology of the dirty/questionable/controversial hits that brought this topic to the forefront of almost every hockey debate.

Pucktales: NHL finds solution to head shots – Our humorous take on the way the league prefers to deal with problems in comic form.

Wendel Clark’s comments about players’ delusions of invincibility.

NHLPA proposes ‘band-aid solution’ to head-shot rule.

NHL tells players to buzz off over rule change. Then the league gives them more time.

So those links should give you a solid look at how quickly this situation unraveled for the league. Will this give Colin Campbell the needed authority – and flexibility – to change the league’s policies of consistent chaos to predictable, reasonable suspensions? Only time will tell, but I guess we’ll have to accept that these things won’t evolve with huge leaps. Instead, it’s obvious we’re going to have to settle for baby steps.

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    Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

    Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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    They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

    The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

    In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

    The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

    Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

    The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

    McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



    Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

    Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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    It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

    Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

    Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

    Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

    “Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

    Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: