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The business of hockey

Wednesday, 03.11.2009 / 2:27 PM / Blog Central

By NHL.com Staff

What a concept!
03.11.09, 2:27 p.m.

Well, the time has arrived for our time here at the GM Meetings to come to a close. Dan and I are about to pack up our fancy white Malibu and head to the Fort Myers Airport for the always unpredictable flight into Newark Airport.

As always, I have had a blast bringing NHL.com readers all the news from whatever outpost from which I am asked to report. I think the GM Meetings were informative and I was particularly impressed with the divergent and passionate viewpoints the every complex issue of fighting in today's game.

This year's Meetings were far different from last year's, which fall before the trade deadline. Last February, Dan and I spent the majority of our time chasing down trade rumors and discussing trade strategy with many of the GMs here.

It was a far different experience. Not better, just different.

But, imagine if you could have both experiences -- debating the issues of the day and dealing in trade speculation -- at the same time at a GM Meetings. It may happen one day.

Detroit GM Ken Holland has proposed to his peers a concept where the trade deadline would fall early in the GM Meetings and then the meetings would return its focus to addressing the state of the game and the state of the League for the remainder of the time.

Toronto GM Brian Burke supports the proposal, understanding the media exposure -- and buzz -- that such a setup would bring. But, he also understands that some of his peers prefer to not discuss trades while attending to other League matters and prefer the less stressful tone of this year's meetings.

Even NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman sees the merits in both arguments.

"I will tell you the sense I got -- not just from people talking to me but watching the dynamic in the room -- (is) we had some very good, in-depth, important discussions about the game and I though the focus was really good and I think part of that is because guys weren't out on their phones in the hallway as much as they were before the trade deadline.

"Now, there is some school of thought that says if we get together before the trade deadline that there is more trades and we moved it because the general managers said they want to focus more on these meetings. Clearly that objective -- focusing more on the meetings -- was obtained by moving it. And, we had roughly the same number of trades."

"Again, we'll take their mood and sentiment on it. I can go either way, but I do think the level of focus and concentration and participation by the group was outstanding."

So, who knows, maybe next year, NHL.com will be covering both the trade deadline and the business of the GM Meetings from the same place next year. Man, Just the possibility of that makes the flight home tonight a little more tolerable.

That's all for this year. Thanks for reading.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Maintenance day
03.11.09, 12:10 p.m.
I used that term, "maintenance day," when I was talking to Nashville GM David Poile and he laughed and said, "Yeah, that's probably the best way to describe it."

There wasn't much that came out of today's meeting except for a few, well, maintenance issues.

According to Toronto GM Brian Burke, there is support for his proposal on making penalties in overtime of the one-minute variety instead of two. Burke said he's been pushing this issue for quite some time now and perhaps his persistence is paying off.

"It's the way to get some rules changed," Burke said. "You have to keep putting them on there (the agenda)."

Burke also said that Ken Holland has some support for his proposal to make the first tiebreaker based on regulation wins, not overall wins. As it stands now, wins is the first tiebreaker in deciding playoff positioning, but that incorporates overtime and shootout wins. Holland wants to see it just incorporate regulation wins.

"Kenny's thing has some merit and support," Burke said. "I don't like to agree with Kenny (laughs), but I do this time. I think it has some support."

It just probably will take some time. Burke knows about that. Just about everything he puts on the agenda takes a couple of years to gather support.

"The first time it's doomed unless it's really logical, and if it's really logical than we probably thought of it already."

Burke also said there was little to no discussion on the All-Star no-shows policy. You do remember, of course, that Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk were each suspended for a game because they did not show up to the All-Star Game in Montreal.

"We supported it already," Burke said. "If we're going to have this event the players should go. The first thing is it's an honor and secondly it's a way to (give back) to our fans. Get on the plane."

Shawn will have the rest of what went down today, complete with quotes and information from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

- Dan Rosen

It's over!
03.11.09, 11:59 a.m.

The meetings just wrapped up, with Gary Bettman addressing the media on the issues discussed here. I'll have a write-up on that in a little while.

Several GMs were also available, including Detroit's Ken Holland, Nashville's David Poile, Larry Pleau of St. Louis and Toronto's Brian Burke. In fact, Burke held two media availabilities before being the last GM to depart the meeting area.

Today's agenda was more about the fiscal aspects of the game, including the status of the salary cap in the next two years. He also talked a bit about the recommendations on fighting that came out of these meetings.

Dan and I will have a few more blog posts before we leave for our flight and I will have a story up on Gary's address to the media.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Groundhog Day
03.11.09, 10:09 a.m.

Guess what? It's 85 and sunny here in Naples again. The weather sure is nice, but it is rarely different, it seems. I think I would have trouble living here.

Guess what else, Dan Rosen and I -- your crack crew at the GM Meetings -- are once again in the media workroom where it is closer to a conditioned 65 degrees with mostly indirect lighting from several lamps placed around the room. We haven't even opened the curtains yet.

Wednesday is the last day of the GM Meetings and traditionally it is a quick day as most GMs are eager to get back to their teams. The meetings break up a little earlier on the final day as a result, usually around 11 a.m.

Even we have to vacate the premises earlier than normal. We have been leaving after 6 p.m. the past two days, but we have a 5:30 p.m. flight out of Fort Myers, so we have to leave here by 3 p.m.

So, off we go to stake out the hallway by the meeting room. Word is the meetings could break up by 10:30 a.m.

With fighting addressed, Wednesday is going to be about some potential rule changes and an update on how the economy is affecting the game.

We'll be back with some updates soon.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Radio Flyer
03.10.09, 6:15 p.m.

I got tapped on the shoulder today to enter the big time as a guest with Don LaGreca and Jim Dowd on NHL Live! We talked all things related to the GM Meetings. ( Listen to Dan on NHL Live!)

I told the boys, Donnie and Jimmy, about the rule change the GMs plan to propose to the Competition Committee that would hopefully limit the amount of the staged fights that occur off a faceoff. We talked about fighting in general and its place in the game and how the GMs down here in Naples view it.

We also discussed why fighting is limited in the playoffs and, if necessary, how a rule against staged fighting would be called in the playoffs. I touched on the PA's proposed rule on hits to the head and how the GMs do not feel it is necessary to put anything in rulebook regarding that because they feel it is sufficiently monitored and dealt with now.

All in all I thought it was a good spot and I hope the boys back in New York did as well. I'll be on NHL Radio XM 204 again tonight at 11:20 ET to talk more about the GM meetings and the league in general.

For now, my partner in crime, Shawn P. Roarke, and I are going to turn off the computers and call it a day. There is some hockey to be watched tonight and we'll be back at it Wednesday as we put the finishing touches on NHL.com's coverage from down here in lovely Naples, Fla.

- Dan Rosen

Who is Joe Schwartz?
03.10.09, 5:55 p.m.

According to Toronto GM Brian Burke, a lot of players lately have been coming to the defense of someone named Joe Schwartz.

"We never worried about protecting Joe Schwartz before," Burke said.

Who is this guy?

Stop looking hockey fans, he doesn't exist.

The intelligent and outspoken GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs is using Joe Schwartz as an example to get his point across that now it seems that players are coming to the aide of anybody on their team who gets hit when it used to just be the star players and goalies who received that kind of protection.

By aggressively enforcing the instigator rule, some of that nonsense may go away.

"If you run the goaltender you're going to have to fight somebody and I don't care if they call the instigator there because the goalie never gets a chance to settle a score himself," Burke said. "If you ran a star player, you turn around real quick because you knew someone was probably coming after you. But, recently now it's gone to if you hit Joe Schwartz, you've got to fight somebody. I don't get that. It's one thing I haven't understood so I like the recommendation; start calling the instigator penalty with greater frequently and we'll have less of this foolishness."

- Dan Rosen

Been working, not slacking
03.10.09, 5:38 PM

So, this is my first blog entry of the day and it's already close to 6 o'clock.

You can call me a slacker, but that's hardly the case. There was a lot going on today regarding proposed rule changes and the like. I'm sure you'll read all about it.

The main issue of fighting that seems to be plaguing the GMs is the safety issue. They just don't know yet what is right and what is wrong in terms of proposing a rule to make fighting safer.

Do you allow them to take the helmet off or require them to keep it on? How does the role of the visor come into play? Players who wear visors normally take their helmets off when they fight. It's part of the code.

Should linesmen jump in faster when a fighter appears compromised, such as when his jersey is pulled over his head or when he clearly is defeated?

"I don't think anybody wants a kneejerk reaction," Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero told me. "It's a serious topic that has been discussed for a long time. Everybody wants to make sure any changes that are made or anything that we looked at is given due consideration and we're going to talk about it again at the June meeting."

I understand the dilemma these guys are facing. They're under an enormous amount of public pressure to do something in the wake of the Don Sanderson tragedy, but they don't want to compromise the integrity of fighting in the game, which they all believe is an integral part of hockey.

By saying they're going to continue to monitor the situation is not putting off the problem. They need more stats to figure out what, if anything, needs to be done.

Just because the Ontario Hockey League has a rule in place saying anybody who fights must keep his helmet on or face a one-game suspension does not mean that its right for the NHL. In fact, the only thing we know about the effect that rule has had is that fighting has not decreased one bit in the OHL since mid-January when the rule was implemented.

We won't know for quite some time if it had a positive or negative result so our GMs can't just react by saying, 'Yeah, we'll do that one, too.' Give them time and they'll do what they feel is best.

Remember, they are all for protecting the integrity of the game just like everyone else. They are only trying to act on the best interest of the sport.

- Dan Rosen

Can't-Miss TV, Part II
03.10.09, 5:33 PM

Tuesday night's NHL Network special -- All Access: The GM Meetings -- is a comprehensive look at all the issues that surfaced during Tuesday's slate of meetings here at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort

The 30-minute show, hosted by Brian Duff and Craig Button, airs from 7 to 7:30 p.m. ET. It will re-air at 8 p.m. ET.

NHL Senior VP and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell is among Tuesday's guests, discussing the recommendations about fighting that will be brought from this meeting to the NHL Competition Committee.

Campbell explains how the GMs propose to limit the incidences of staged fighting and also more stringently enforce instigator rules that are already in place.

In another segment, Kris King, the NHL's Senior Director, Hockey Operations, discusses the fighting recommendations from a player's point of view. King compiled 2,030 penalty minutes during a 14-year playing career in the NHL

All Access: The GM Meetings also carries part of NHL.com's roundtable with Toronto's Brian Burke, San Jose's Doug Wilson and Pittsburgh's Ray Shero before Duff and Button wrap up the day's events with their closing commentary.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Busy as bees
03.10.09, 5:28 PM

Time flies when you are having fun -- or covering the GM Meetings, it seems.

It's 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon and I'm coming up for breath for the first time today after arriving here just a smidge after 9 a.m.

My NHL.com partner, Dan Rosen, is still putting the finishing touches on his stories from today -- one piece on the fighting recommendations that came out of the meetings and another on GMs politely passing on proposal from the NHLPA that a rule penalizing blows to the head delivered against unsuspecting players be adopted.

As for me, I have been busy most of the day, chasing down GM and League officials for reaction and planning an exclusive podcast on NHL.com featuring three GMs -- Brian Burke, Doug Wilson and Ray Shero -- discussing the agenda of the GM Meetings and the state of the game as a whole.

Not to brag, but it is a pretty interesting 20-minute listen for anyone that cares about the game. Burke, Shero and Wilson, regardless of their differing opinions on particular topics, have an abiding passion for the game that shines through in their comments in the podcast. Plus, the three men are clearly comfortable with each other and take some good-natured jabs at each other throughout the program.

I co-hosted the roundtable with NHL Network's Brain Duff and it was quite the eye-opening experience. You don't realize how good guys that do TV for a living are until you are put in that position. I think it will be clear pretty early on that Duff is in a different league than me when it comes to on-air interviewing. I'm considerably humbled.

Hopefully, I will get more changes to do things like this and I will be better each time. Practice makes perfect, as they say.

--Shawn P. Roarke

We're back!
03.10.09, 10:44 AM

Dan and I are back at the Ritz-Carlton for Day 2 of the GM Meetings. It's another beautiful day here in Florida, sunny and warm. But, it is 65 degrees and fluorescently lit here in the workroom that has become our home here.

The meetings were already underway when we arrived a 9 a.m. The 30 GMs will meet as a big group for the first few hours and then break into subcommittees for the second half. Like Monday, they will be available to the media either before or after lunch.

We'll have all of the news that comes out of the media availability, plus we hope to add some audio of some of Monday's pressers in the next little while, as well.
For those of you just joining Dan and I here, make sure you check out the stories we filed Monday. Dan had a terrific package on the complexities surround the fighting debate being waged among the GMs here, while I delivered a two-part piece on the work being down to address the issue of headshots.

Craig Button, from the NHL Network, also did a guest commentary piece on Day 1 of the GM meetings. The NHL Network is here in Naples, putting together a 30-minute show each night. The Tuesday night show, hosted by Button and Brian Duff, will run from 7-7:30 p.m. ET on the Network, with a re-air from 8 to 8:30 p.m. ET.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Can't-miss TV
03.09.09, 6:35 PM

As we mentioned earlier, the NHL Network is down here doing a nightly wrapup of the GM Meetings, a 30-minute show that runs from 7 to 7:30 p.m. and re-airs from 8 to 8:30 p.m.

The show's producer, Sam Cicirello, just dropped us a note about what will be on the show and it looks pretty good.

Hosts Brian Duff and Craig Button have interviews with NHL Senior VP Colie Campbell, Toronto GM Brian Burke, Vancouver GM Mike Gillis, Ottawa's Bryan Murray and Don Maloney of the Phoenix Coyotes.

The show also features NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly talking about the presentation he made to the GMs on Monday morning, as well as NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly talking about the economic realities the League is facing.

Finally, Buffalo GM Darcy Regier stops by to reminisce about former Islander GM Bill Torrey and the impact he has had on Regier's own career.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Going to the theater
03.09.09, 6:30 PM

Fighting was a main topic today, but as you read in NHL Network analyst Craig Button's piece, there are so many layers to the never-ending debate.

One of them is the staged fights. Shawn already brought you Brian Burke's views on the topic, but I polled a few other power brokers here and asked the simple question:

Can the NHL find a way to police staged fights?

The answer isn't so simple.

NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly doesn't think there is a clear-cut way of drawing a line between what is for real and what is theatrical. Until someone approaches him with some suggested guidelines, Kelly told me he can't take it to the players.

"If a player comes out at the beginning of the period and drops the gloves with a guy right after the opening faceoff, is that in response to something that happened at the end of the prior period or in the end of the previous game between the two teams? Is he really stepping up and responding to some play on a fellow teammate?" Kelly told NHL.com. "It's hard to figure out where you draw the line around pre-arranged fights. I have heard the argument that people would like to see pre-arranged fights or staged fights eliminated from the game. I just think it would be a hard thing to define. I'd like to hear some ideas and proposals from people before I'm in position to take it to the players."

Buffalo GM Darcy Regier wouldn't go as far as calling staged fights a problem, but he does agree a determination has to be put in the game to guard against them.

"I don't want to get into a hypothetical of what should or shouldn't happen," Regier told NHL.com. "There needs to be a conversation about its place in the game, whether it has a place in the game and under what circumstance."

Here's one more from Brian Burke, who clearly doesn't care too much about the topic of staged fights. For full disclosure, this is in response to a question I asked him about communication.

The gist of what I asked is if we're going to find a way to police staged fights, does there need to be communication between the player and the ref, or the coach and the ref, so the ref knows when a fight certainly is not staged. For example, should Player A tell the ref, 'Listen, that dude went after me three weeks ago and I never had a chance to pay him back. Don't penalize me if I challenge him tonight.'

"You can overanalyze this," Burke quipped. "You guys seem much more concerned with this issue than I am. As far as the place the fighting debate occupies, to me it's not a debate in the game. Fighting belongs and is going to stay and the debate is raging around the sport and the issue of fighting. You have far more questions about it than I have answers or concerns."

Fair enough. I'll stop right there.

- Dan Rosen

Olympic Spirit

03.09.09, 6:21 PM

While fighting and head shots ruled the conversation Monday at the GM Meeetings, there were many other topics up for discussion. One Of the most intriguing is the status of the Olympics after the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

The NHL has yet to commit to the 2014 Games in Russia and the issue is complicated.

The players want to go, says PA boss Paul Kelly.

"The players strongly support Olympic participation after Vancouver; they believe it is good for the game," Kelly said Monday. "They understand the issues of the owners, but they believe it is a positive."
The GMs, meanwhile, are struggling with what to do about Russia. Few are welcoming of the idea that the League will have to shut down for more than two weeks to accommodate travel to Russia and participation in the two-week tournament.

Brian Burke, the Toronto GM, said that he really struggles with the issue of shutting down the game in-season and can't think of another sport that does so.

Ottawa GM Bryan Murray, meanwhile, is still stinging from losing his goalie, Dominik Hasek, got hurt in the first game with the Czech Republic, and struggled for the rest of the season upon returning to the Sens.

Pittsburgh's Ray Shero, meanwhile, knows that he will be in a unique situation because he has two of the best Russian players in the NHL in League-leading scorer Evgeni Malkin and veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar.

"I don't really have an opinion on 2014, I'm focused on 2010," said Shero, who is part of the American braintrust for 2010. "The one thing I think about 2014 is it's in Russia and we've personally got a couple of pretty good Russian players on our team and whether it is a Gonchar or a Malkin, how would that affect them in term of players and wanting to play in there home country?

The GMs will wrestle with that question and many others related to the Olympics in the next two days and we will keep you abreast of all the developments.

--Shawn P. Roarke


Right place, right time
03.09.09, 5:55 PM

Sometimes you just never know what you're going to see at these type of events.

So, there I am minutes ago, up in the lobby of the hotel, between the front door and the beautiful veranda overlooking the golf course, talking on my cell phone with my wife back in Jersey. She was telling me about her day at work and I was dishing a little bit on mine here when all of a sudden three of the most recognizable and important figures in NHL history walk right by me:

Scotty Bowman, Jim Devellano and Pat Burns, who despite cancer looks pretty darn good.

It looked like the three of them were heading out to the veranda to enjoy the beautiful evening. Vancouver GM Mike Gillis, who was downstairs also talking on his phone and asking the Bell Desk a question, stopped over to the historic trio for a few words. When they got outside, Brian Burke and Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox greeted them.

And, then off they went to find themselves some peace and quiet. No doubt they were talking about hockey, and probably discussing how they would change the game today. I am sure they each have their own views on fighting at this juncture, that's for sure.

Like I said, you just never know what you're going to see.

- Dan Rosen

Exit 'Stage' Left

03.09.09, 5:37 PM

Brian Burke certainly doesn't want to hear the media spout off about "staged" fights -- you know the ones that happen right off a faceoff -- anymore.

To him, there are plenty of reasons why guys might guy right off the faceoff aside from just the gratuitous do-you-wanna-go canard.

"You'll see two guys line up off a faceoff and they're yapping and then they fight and everyone says, 'Oh, that's a staged fight,' "Burke said "When I was playing in the American (Hockey) League, I went after a guy in a game who speared me two years before that when I was playing university hockey.

Anyone upstairs can say it was a staged fight; well it wasn't a staged fight. I was going to get this guy and I was going to get him the first time I was on the ice with him. After the incident he yelled at me and said, 'What was that all about?' I said to him, 'You got me two years ago and I didn't get a chance to get your for two years.'

And, Burke says that happens more often than you might think.

"I had a player go after a guy when I was in Vancouver," Burke said, referencing his time in Vancouver's front office. "He said the player ran him from behind in his first junior camp three years before that. It took him three years to get him back and he went right after him.

"Don't always assume it's the coaches who want that fight or the players are put out there on purpose. Sometimes they act independently on that stuff."

--Shawn P. Roarke

A cautionary tale
03.09.09, 5:28 PM

With all the talk about fighting's place in the game that went on today, you knew that a few people would have some good stories.

Surprisingly, mild-mannered Don Maloney, now the GM of the Phoenix Coyotes, had one of the better ones.

It seems back in his playing days, during his time with the Rangers, he was involved in a spirited game against the Islanders -- if you can imagine that -- at Madison Square Garden.

On the play in question, the puck had just been dumped in and Maloney gave Bobby Nystrom a "push" into the stanchion by the penalty box.

"I gave him a little push and he hit the (stanchion) and the crowd is roaring at the Garden and I'm looking around and there's this Tasmanian Devil coming," Maloney said, now able to laugh at the memory.

It seems that Nystrom did not appreciate Maloney's "push" and made sure the Ranger knew about it.

"He hit me so many times on the top of my head. I couldn't touch my head for like 3 weeks; it was that sore," Maloney said. I knew fighting wasn't a big part of my future at that point."

And, it is an incident that remains unspoken by Maloney to this day whenver he crosses paths with the Islander legend.

"I'm still afraid of him," Maloney said.

--Shawn P. Roarke

Time to get busy
03.09.09, 12:54 PM

It's almost time for the GMs to break from their workshop meetings and have some lunch and then deal with the media.

We're running back down the hall to get all the interviews we can and will be back with some comments.

Paul Kelly and Glenn Healy have already met with the media. Dan has a  great read on Kelly's unique proposals below. I hope to add some more later, as well as a podcast of his scrum.

Also, the NHL Network is here, doing a nightly recap on Monday and Tuesday. Brian Duff and Craig Button are conducting interviews with all the newsmakers and will put it all together in a 30-minute program that will be must-watch TV. The show will air from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET and will re-air from 8-8:30 p.m. ET

Craig Button, who did some analysis for NHL.com at the Trade Deadline, will also check in with an opinion piece on NHL.com later this afternoon, so look for that.

We'll be back with more soon.

-- Shawn P. Roarke

Kelly: Make February break permanent
03.09.09, 12:23 PM

NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly told me earlier today that part of his presentation to the GMs included two potential scheduling changes the players are in favor of implementing going forward:

1. Have the Stanley Cup Final end around June 1 rather than June 15.
2. Make the two-week break in Olympic years an annual thing.

The first proposal is certainly straightforward. Kelly and the players propose to start the season a bit earlier and compress some of the scheduling in the middle so the Stanley Cup Final is awarded in early June rather than the middle of the month.

The second will definitely pique the most interest.

Why would they break every February? How would they make it work? What would they replace the hockey games with? Wouldn't it stop the momentum of the season? Are they nuts?

All good questions you're probably asking yourself. Kelly told me he thinks it's a good idea to build the two-week break in February into every season so the players can recoup their bodies and refresh for the stretch run, but it's not that he wants hockey to go away for two weeks in non-Olympic years.

"We did raise this with all 30 teams and got an overwhelmingly positive response," Kelly said.

The proposal includes bringing back the World Cup of Hockey and playing it once every four years in that same time frame as the Olympics.

"If you're going to hold a World Cup and you're going to hold it every four years, let's hold it in those intervening years in between the Olympics," Kelly said. "You'd have the Olympics in 2010, the World Cup in 2012, the Olympics in 2014 and the World Cup in 2016 and just do that recurring schedule in the same February footprint all the way through."

What about the odd years?

Kelly suggests they could shrink the break from two weeks to one week in the non-Olympic or World Cup years and expand NHL All-Star Weekend to five days rather than three. By doing so, you would also give the players who are playing in the All-Star Game an extra 24 hours on each side to rest, totaling the seven-day break.

"Right now we play games until Thursday and we fly our All-Stars into whatever the city is on Friday. Then we fly them back out Sunday or Monday morning and they're playing on Tuesday night," Kelly said. "You could make the event bigger by drawing more attention to the event and at the same time give those players a little bit more of a breather so that they're ready for that haul down the stretch."

He suggested adding a hockey summit into All-Star Weekend, "bringing in not only medical people but hockey experts, international people to talk about the key issues in our game." He also thinks they could hold a major youth hockey tournament in the host city of All-Star Weekend, and probably an alumni game or tournament as well.

I then suggested the idea of playing an outdoor game during that time frame as well. Kelly said it's certainly something to think about, too.

"That's another opportunity," he said. "You could do an outdoor All-Star Game. You could do an outdoor game together with an outdoor All-Star Game. I think we need to start thinking outside the box a little bit."

-- Dan Rosen

Let the Meetings Begin
03.09.09, 9:41 AM

We're on the ground here in beautiful Naples, Fla., with the sun shining and temperatures set to climb into the mid-80s.

But, before anyone gets the misinformed notion that sun and fun are on the agenda for the NHL.com boys -- myself and Dan Rosen -- know this: WE will be stuck in a hotel for the better part of the day. There will be no beach visits, no spring training baseball games and no golf on this trip.

It's a business trip for us. Fortunately, we both like the business of hockey very much.

So, we will prowl the hallways and ballrooms of the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort to get all the latest news from the three days of GM Meetings here.

To start, we can tell you that NHLPA boss Paul Kelly is addressing the group from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday.

Also, there a number of topics on the agenda for the next couple of days that will be of interest.

The GMs are expected to discuss fighting, blows to the head and various rules changes.

Among the rule changes reported to be on the docket are Larry Pleau's proposal to force the team that incurs a delayed penalty to have to ice the puck -- not just touch it -- in order to get a whistle to stop play. There will also be some discussion of Bob Gainey's proposal that would make leaving your feet --read diving -- to block a shot a minor delay-of-game penalty.

Also, there may be some discussion about changing, or eliminating, the trapezoid rule that presently limits where a goaltender can handle the puck. Additionally, Ken Holland has proposed a change in the tiebreaking procedure for the playoffs, moving from overall wins as the first tiebreaker to regulation wins.

Delivering all the news from Naples is our mandate and we will deliver in this blog, as well as with feature stories on NHL.com. So, stay with NHL.com for the next 72 hours to get your fill of news about the state of the game.

-- Shawn P. Roarke
Quote of the Day

It's time we got a break. People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak
2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series