Tuesday, March 10, 2009

NHLPA seeks to put punishment on head shots into the hands of the referees

The NHLPA has provided the NHL owners with its review of the controversial practice of head shots during the course of a game.

Paul Kelly, the NHLPA director would like to see the referees provided with more ammunition when it comes to on ice penalties, allowing for them to have the power to assess either a minor or a major penalty depending on the severity of the infraction.

While realizing that the current policy is to assess fines or suspensions after the fact by the league office, Kelly feels that the referees who mark the flow of the game would be in the best position to provide for a fitting instant punishment for those shots that are beyond the normal physical nature of the game.

Kelly feels that a new penalty for checking to the head would have a positive impact on reducing the careless nature of some of the players, though he was cautious to add that not all hits that involve the head necessarily should be punished, only those which highlight an reckless nature or a definitive intent to injure a player.

The NHLPA outlined how it is more concerned at the moment about the increasing nature of these head shots, much more than it is worried about the need to take fighting out of the game. No doubt a positive message for those NHLers who find their roster spots dependant on the call to arms that sometimes is issued during the course of an NHL game.

National Post-- NHLPA boss proposes new penalty for hits to the head
Globe and Mail-- NHLPA proposes rule on hits to the head
Toronto Star-- Players' Association wants to reduce head shots in NHL

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