NEW YORK -- Beginning with tonight's games, the National Hockey League will implement a new rule prohibiting "a lateral, back-pressure or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact."
Under the new rule, the NHL Hockey Operations Department is empowered to review any such hit for the purpose of Supplementary Discipline.
"We believe this is the right thing to do for the game and for the safety of our players," Commissioner Gary Bettman said after receiving unanimous approval from the Board of Governors as well as the endorsement of the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee and the NHLPA Executive Board. "The elimination of these types of hits should significantly reduce the number of injuries, including concussions, without adversely affecting the level of physicality in the game."
We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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