Author: NBC Sports

NHL's competition committee proposes new headshot penalty

to The Canadian Press
, the NHL’s competition committee has proposed
a rule change for next season, that would have players given a penalty
on the ice for intentional hits to the head.

Mathieu Schneider
said that the committee met on Friday, and on top of the proposed rule
change also agreed on rules for goaltender equipment and approved the
Heritage Classic game in Calgary for this season.

If you remember,
the committee first sought to block an in-season change proposed by the
general managers regarding head shots when the NHL knee-jerked after a
number of dangerous hits left several players severely injured. The
committee eventually agreed to the temporary rule change, with the plan
of approving a much more detailed plan this summer.

The hangup
this past season with the temporary change was that in-game penalties
wouldn’t change but gave the NHL room to suspend players for breaking a
rule that technically wasn’t in place yet. You could understand the
committee’s reluctance to agree on such a change, but the NHL fired back
saying they could make the change with or without the players’

The NHL’s board of governors will meet during next
week’s draft in Los Angeles, where they will vote on the proposed rule
changes by the competition committee.

Dallas Stars negotiating to move training camp to Prince Edward Island

The Dallas Stars are certainly in a state of flux lately, as the team
struggles with a restrictive internal budget as they work to transition
to Joe Nieuwendyk’s and Marc Crawford’s new system. With the team in he
midst of a sale, it’s also unlikely that the team is able to use that
cap space to upgrade the team over what they had on the ice last season.

after two straight seasons of missing the playoffs, it’s unlikely the
team will appear much different next season — other than in net, of

The Stars are also fighting for relevancy in the Dallas
area, with the Cowboys, Rangers and Mavericks all experiencing recent
success. One thing the Stars have always had for the fans is
accessibility, especially during training camp. That has helped to keep
relations with the fans alive and well, despite the frustrations of
recent years.

However, according to Mike Heika of the Dallas
Morning News and The Guardian, the Stars are looking at moving at least
parts of their training camp to Prince Edward Island:

When contacted on
Friday morning, Long
said he wasn’t in a position to confirm anything yet.

“We hope to have
some closure to this situation in another two or three
weeks,’ Long said. The City of Charlottetown made a formal proposal to
the Stars
organization earlier this year to have the NHL organization move part of
its training camp to the Island capital.

Gardner of Defending Big D is feeling a bit greedy, and isn’t exactly
happy with the news:

This move will take what has been a
celebration of the return of
hockey amongst the faithful in Dallas away from the fans, and of course,
Defending Big D. In a town where hockey is a fourth rate sport, it’s
profile will be reduced even further by having the athletes 2,362 miles
away (Thanks, Google.)

Needless to say, if this comes to pass it is disappointing to us
here, who can’t exactly afford to get on a plane to Prince Edward Island
for a week. It is not uncommon to have training camps away from home,
of course. Baseball teams and football teams do it most commonly and the
Stars used to go to Colorado for a number of years.

Still, he
notes that perhaps it will be good for the team to get away for camp
after a number of seasons of very slow starts. It’s also important to
note that the entire camp won’t be on PEI; training camp begins on
September 17th and the first preseason game is on September 21st in
Dallas. So perhaps the Stars will open camp for the first few days up in
Canada before moving back to Dallas.

It’s also a good way to get
some great PR up in Canada, especially considering that Brad Richards
and Steve Ott are both PEI natives. So while the Stars fans will be
angry that portions of camp will be away from Dallas, it’s not as bad as
it initially sounds.

Chris Mason surprised by the Jaroslav Halak trade

Mason1.jpgYesterday’s trade that sent Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues
sent shockwaves throughout the hockey world. After all, Halak was the
promising young goaltender that the Canadiens have been looking for and
the one that carried the Habs on his back past the Capitals and the
Penguins. Yet Pierre Gauthier made it known that the Canadiens were
sticking with the frustrating Carey Price.

According to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

But when Blues incoming general manager Doug Armstrong contacted the
Canadiens recently, he learned the unexpected. “The initial call was
just to say, ‘We may be in the market for a goaltender,'” Armstrong
said. “They had two young goaltenders. I asked (Pierre Gauthier) what
direction he was going to go in. He told me he was going to keep Carey
and make Jaro available. That spurred the conversation to the first
phase of the assets he would need back.”

The trade also ends contract negotiations with Chris Mason, who had
hoped to work out an extension with the Blues before becoming a free
agent in July. Both Mason and his agent were surprised by the trade as
they were under the impression that the Blues wanted Mason back.

“It was just a matter of getting confirmation and getting everything
in order. It was delayed a couple of times and now we know the reason
why. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was disappointing. I loved being a
St. Louis Blue and I thought I was going to continue to be.”

Still, once you get a look at what has happening behind the scenes
the fact that he Habs traded Halak should come as no surprise. Doug
Armstrong hinted that the Habs had made the decision to stick with Price
early on in the offseason, and agent Alan Walsh has said that he had no
negotiations with the Canadiens on a contract for Halak — even after
he took his team to the brink of the Stanley Cup finals.

But what about the return? Halak is set to be a RFA, but you would
have expected the Canadiens to be able to get more than a few top
prospects for his rights. James
Mirtle of the Globe and Mail
says that the goaltender market had a
say in what the Habs could get for Halak:

There are
going to be a lot of servicable goalies available and it could even be
that the players are fighting each other to try to get the few No. 1
roles out there. Here’s a quick idea of the 10 top netminders set to
become free agents on July 1:

Nabokov, Turco, Niittymaki, Mason,
Ellis, Leighton, Theodore, Biron, Hedberg and Emery

There are also
a few backups beyond that as well, meaning that it’s quite likely we
see several goaltenders unable to find NHL teams this summer.

number of goaltenders that will be on the move this summer is
astounding, so it’s no wonder the return wasn’t exactly what the Habs
fans would hope for if Halak was traded.