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The New York Post
DALLAS — Surely, albeit too slowly to protect athletes currently at risk, change is coming to the way the NHL addresses hits to the head. That is the most significant takeaway from the general managers' meeting that was held Thursday in advance of the draft.
According to several sources in attendance, a notable number of GMs support amending Rule 48 to outlaw all hits to the head, including incidental contact. But there was also a consensus not to change the rule for the 2018-19 season while the league reviews unintended consequences that will inevitably follow.
Two managers who spoke to Slap Shots on the condition of anonymity used essentially the same language in characterizing the subject: "We know it has to change and it will change, but not right away."
For better or worse, the sport's physical element and old-style intimidation have already essentially disappeared from the landscape. There might be a reduction in hitting, but at least the kind of sneaky, gratuitous kind of head shot Tom Wilson delivered to Brian Dumoulin would presumably come to an end. And maybe players would learn to hit through the body.
The NHLPA, meanwhile, has never conducted a formal poll of its membership regarding this subject. We're told that just as a subset of players have argued against outlawing fighting from the game (by dramatically increasing the penalties attached to fisticuffs), there are those who worry penalizing even incidental hits to the head will a have a negative impact on a segment of players.
But new and newer generations of athletes now own the ice. They use their brains. Want to keep them, too. Change is coming.
We are 14 months away from the NHL and NHLPA being able to exercise re-openers on the CBA. The league has until Sept. 1, 2019 and the PA until Sept. 15, 2019 to opt-out. If either side re-opens, the agreement expires following the 2019-20 season. The sides are expected to chat informally this summer, but no formal meetings have been scheduled.
The league is expected to move to redefine hockey-related revenue in order to come away with a larger share of its 50-50 cut. There will likely be a push to set a maximum contract term at five years, the hill on which Deputy Dawg Bill Daly died during the 2012-13 Owners' Lockout III. And we have been told by a mole that Gary Bettman has already addressed/lectured the Board of Governors on the topic of signing bonuses for the lockout season; as in, stop giving them out.
Biometrics will be a significant issue in the talks. Indeed, we're told the issue is already arising in certain precincts. We're told that there are teams taking the position they own the right to monitor, for instance, a players' heartbeat 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. The players quite naturally feel otherwise. Who wouldn't?
By the way, where did you spend last night, "Mr. Jacobs?"
Artemi Panarin's decision not to engage in negotiations for an extension with the Blue Jackets was motivated solely by his desire to play and live in a major market. You (and more to the point, he) can take it to the bank that the Rangers will be all in if the transcendent Bread Man reaches free agency next summer.
Seven years after sitting back for months during the NHL's persecution — sorry, prosecution — of the Ilya Kovalchuk circumvention case, the Kings finally got the winger whom they have lusted after for so long. We're told Los Angeles originally floated a one-year offer to Kovalchuk, but that did not fly. The deal that was agreed to Saturday (and will be signed on July 1) is for three years at $6.25 million per season.
Boston and San Jose, suitors left at the altar, may circle back to Rick Nash, all three entities part of the Joe Thornton connection.
Brendan Shanahan may be doing a fine job for the Maple Leafs, but just try to tell me that he's not the Islanders' MVP.
Carolina unveiled an alternate jersey for this season, and I must say, I am deeply offended that it doesn't feature a Candy Cane as the logo.
Finally, I'm not saying that Lou Lamoriello tampered with Barry Trotz, but then why is Petr Nedved going to Washington as compensation?
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