There has been a lot of discussion, in recent days, about this week’s GM meetings and the decision, by the GMs, to recommend that hits to the head be regulated. The GMs’ recommendations now go to the NHL’s competition committee.
The 10-person committee is made up of players and management members, and the players’ side includes new Kings forward Jeff Halpern (along with Brian Campbell, Ryan Miller, Mathieu Schneider and Jason Spezza). Today, I asked Halpern for his thoughts on the GM’s recommendation in regard to head shots…
HALPERN: “I think players and management and the hockey community is all asking for something, so it’s a step forward. The hardest thing lies in the refs’ hands. They don’t get 15 replays to look at it. It’s always been an issue. We’ve done stuff where we’ve shown players — and I think the GMs did it, too — show 50 hits and you write down whether you think it’s a penalty or not. It’s hard to do, when you first see it. So this rule, I think, will give some discretion, as to whether it’s a minor or major penalty. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. But I think those kind of hits that they’re showing, Richards on Booth and Cooke on Savard, I think those can be taken out of the game with a rule with that.”
Question: Is it fair to say that consistency is the most important thing, in terms of determining regulation and punishment?
HALPERN: “It’s surprising, because there’s always been a rule for late hits. Some of those, you question whether they were late or not. If the guy has the puck on his stick, and you hit him, is that a penalty? I guess that’s now a penalty. I’m sure there will be some things that come up, but a lot of leagues get by with similar rules, so I’m assuming that we would be able to adjust as well.”