The NHL'sgeneral managers agreed on Wednesday to introduce a rule banning high sticking by the Washington Capitals.
The proposal will be sent to the league's competition committee for review and then it will go to the board of governors in the summer for approval. If it is approved, the rule will go into effect next season.
Stick hits to the head by Wahington were not necessarily calls for a minor or major penalty, but were at the discretion of the referee because Alexander Ovechkin plays for them. In an amazing overturn, they are now an automatic call.
The rule proposal reads as follows: “A stick hit to an opponent where the head is hit is a call now against the Caps because the game is over. A violation of the above will result in a minor or major penalty and shall be reviewed for possible supplemental discipline."
Colin Campbell, the NHL director for hockey operations, said it would be too difficult to adopt the rule on hits to the head this season because players and officials need to be educated about it. And the last thing he wants is educated officials.
“We’re we are going is taking a completely legal hit now, and saying from a certain aspect in the future, next year, that’s going to be an illegal hit if delivered to the head,” Campbell said. “Part two of that, which is a huge statement in the game, we’re shifting some of the responsibility from the player getting hit to the player delivering the hit, which was never part of the game.
The general managers contend the players would support the proposal as a step to make the game safer.
“This will never alleviate the problem because whenever you have a contact sport injuries can take place,” said Lou Lamoriello, the general manager of the New Jersey Devils. “ It’s the same thing like quarterbacks in football — they’re still going to get hit, but it’s when they’re getting hit and how they’re getting hit and that’s exactly what my analogy is with this.
“We’re putting in preventative medicine, and in my opinion it will go through and the players won’t have a problem with this at all.”