GMs focus on headshots, shootouts at meetings


headshots.jpgThe NHL’s general managers met in Philadelphia for reasons beyond honoring Coyotes GM Don Maloney as the best general manager of the year. As it turns out, they also discussed some of the league’s most pressing issues, including hits to the head and the excessive effect shootouts have on the way teams play.

The area that looks to see the most change is in headshots, though. TSN has the story, including thoughts from the always outspoken Brian Burke.

The league’s brain trust spent significant time discussing the addition of a major penalty and a game misconduct for east-west, back pressure, or blind side hits; as well as handing out supplemental discipline.

… “It’s one thing to suspend a player, but that has no impact on the game. It doesn’t penalize the team for that game, and our feeling is that it should be five and a game,” explained Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke. “It goes to the Competition Committee next and then the Board of Governors. I can’t imagine that there would be any opposition to it – we have to take that hit out of the game.”

As Burke mentioned, the rule still needs to pass through the Competition Committee and Board of Governors. It’s clear that the league is trying to curb those dangerous hits, though.

It sounds like talk about changing the shootout format is mainly preliminary. Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland proposed changing from a five minute OT to either an eight minute or 10 minute extra period. The goal is to increase the chances of a game ending before it gets to that point.

I’m glad that hits to the head are getting attention, but I’d love to see the league improve the way it handles shootouts. That being said, the idea of reducing the skaters to 3-on-3 toward the end of the overtime period strikes me as a weak band-aid solution. In fact, that might be even worse.

Then again, this is coming from someone who wants shootouts done away with altogether

Start the Carr: Habs recall another player from the minors

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There’s been a lot of movement between Montreal and Saint John’s lately and that continued on Sunday.

This time, it’s forward Daniel Carr who’ll be getting a stint with the big club.

Carr has no prior NHL experience.

The 24-year-old spent four years at Union College before joining the Canadiens organization as an undrafted free agent.

In his first season as a pro, Carr scored 24 goals (led the team) and 39 points in 76 AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2014-15.

This year, Carr has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games.

Montreal is without forwards Torrey Mitchell, Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Semin.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.