Concerned that skilled players, notably Sidney Crosby, are not getting the kind of protection they should, the league’s GMs agreed Tuesday that the instigating rules should be changed.
Under the current rules, a player receives a two-game suspension after accumulating three instigating penalties. GMs would like that number changed to five penalties.
The NHL’s competition committee (made of players and GMs) and the board of governors need to approve the change this spring.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman isn’t concerned about the optics of the change, which would essentially allowing tough guys to drop the gloves more often without fear of suspension.
“Among other things, it means a skilled player doesn’t have to fight,” Bettman said after Day 2 of the GM meetings wrapped up. “This wouldn’t be the first time that we adjusted this. You fine-tune it and if you need to adjust it again you do.”
While trade talk continued to heat up as fellow GMs spent more time together at a posh hotel resort, other recommendations were also made Tuesday:
-Video replay: Starting next season referees will have a direct phone line to the war room at the league’s head office in Toronto, as well as have TV monitors in the penalty box for referees to watch replays. Currently, referees only have direct communication with the video goal review official in the arena.
-Going to a one-minute penalty in overtime instead of traditional two minutes: The GMs agreed it’s too soon to try this in the NHL next season but perhaps can be tried out in rookie tournaments next fall and/or possibly in the AHL.
Those also need rubber-stamping from the competition committee and board of governors.
One of the more interesting topics of discussion – going to three points for a regulation time victory – was pushed back to Wednesday, the final day of meetings.
In the meantime, GMs used the rest of their downtime to continue trade talks. Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland was seen having a quiet moment with St. Louis Blues GM Larry Pleau amid speculation that Blues winger Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin – both unrestricted free agents July 1 – are both up for sale.
“The prices are a bit high right now,” Holland said. “I’ve done a lot of talking, but nothing yet.”