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NHL Insider

GMs unable to reach consensus on ban of head hits

Tuesday, 03.15.2011 / 4:33 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- In the end, a universal ban on hits to the heads was not the level to which the League's general managers wanted to travel at this week's meetings here.

Instead, they opted to recommend that existing rules governing boarding and charging be more stringently applied. They also believe the threat of stiffer supplementary discipline for those that deliver illegal hits to the head, as well as for repeat offenders in the League's supplemental discipline process, will have the necessary chilling effect to make the NHL workplace a far safer one.

"By the time the season is over there will be 55,000 hits, and a small percentage are resulting in concussions," Bettman said. "We want to eliminate concussions, but the view is, if we can define a rule that makes sense and doesn't cause other problems in the game, we're going to try and do that."

Cracking down on boarding, charging

Tuesday, 03.15.2011 / 4:18 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

"I think this whole thing of reviewing safety issues, boarding and charging -- when you read the actual rules -- covers much of what we are talking about today. So it is up to us to articulate the standard verbally and visually to demonstrate to players, media and fans and referees what really that new standard is." -- Brendan Shanahan

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Armed with the empirical data on concussions provided by the NHL's Hockey Operations department Monday, the NHL's 30 general managers spent close to five hours Tuesday trying to shape a comprehensive policy to curb the number of concussions in the game.

The cornerstone of that policy, from comments made by virtually everyone involved in the process, will involve a more stringent enforcement of the boarding and charging penalties in the current rulebook.

"Let me summarize the overwhelming view of the group in terms of what we are going to be focused on," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said after Tuesday's session. "There seems to be, particularly in light of the statistics as to how and where concussions are caused, that boarding and charging is a focus of attention for us, particularly in terms of seeking stricter enforcement, more aggressive enforcement.

Arnott injury will test Caps' center depth

Tuesday, 03.15.2011 / 2:49 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- The Washington Capitals will be without a major catalyst to their current eight-game winning streak when they look to extend it Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

Jason Arnott did not make the trip north with his teammates and Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau described his status as "week to week" with an undisclosed injury, ruling him out for at least the next three games.

Considering the Capitals are a sparkling 7-0-0 since Arnott was acquired from New Jersey at the trade deadline in exchange for center David Steckel and a second-round pick, Boudreau was asked how his team will be affected by his absence.

"I don't know, we'll find out how much it's going to hurt us," Boudreau said. "He has had an impact and we'll miss him, but like any other team we'll carry on."

GMs suggest stricter charging, boarding calls

Tuesday, 03.15.2011 / 2:20 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

BOCA RATON – Armed with comprehensive statistics about the causes of concussions suffered during the 2010-11 season, the League's general managers spent Tuesday debating ways to make the game safer.

After more than four hours of meetings on Day 2 of the three-day General Managers' Meetings, the group emerged with a mandate to look more closely at the boarding and charging rules already present in the League's rulebook.

NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Terry Gregson appeared on today's NHL Live! show to discuss the Tuesday morning session. He said referees need to think about three questions as they evaluate the merit of a charging or boarding call: Did the player making the hit have any regard for the puck? Is the player making the hit trying to separate the player from the puck? Or was the player making the hit just there to punish?

Ribeiro, Robidas have Sharks number

Tuesday, 03.15.2011 / 1:58 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

DALLAS -- So far this season, the Dallas Stars are 3-0-1 against the San Jose Sharks. Two big reasons for that success against their Pacific Division rival are center Mike Ribeiro, who has 3 goals and an assist against the Sharks, and defenseman Stephane Robidas, who has 5 assists against them in those four games.

"They're good players. The fact they've had success against any particular team I don't think is much more than coincidence. They've had success against lots of different teams. The hope is, and the desire is, that we find a way to be successful again tonight."
-- Marc Crawford

Tuesday, the Stars host San Jose at the American Airlines Center and Dallas coach Marc Crawford hopes for similar showings from both players.

"They're good players. The fact they've had success against any particular team I don't think is much more than coincidence," Crawford said. "They've had success against lots of different teams. The hope is, and the desire is, that we find a way to be successful again tonight."

For his career, Robidas has 16 points in 49 games against the Sharks and is a plus-10. But when asked to explain his current success against them, he admits to being at somewhat of a loss to explain it.

Kane happy to finally score No. 100

Tuesday, 03.15.2011 / 1:54 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

"It would've been nice to get it in Washington (this past Sunday). My family was there, my three sisters and my mom and dad, but none of them (were here). They were just watching it on TV. But it's nice to get it and get it over with." -- Patrick Kane

CHICAGO -- It wasn't exactly how Patrick Kane hoped to score his 100th NHL goal, but it still was memorable for the 22-year-old Chicago Blackhawks star forward.
Kane capped the scoring in a big 6-3 Chicago win against the visiting San Jose Sharks Monday by firing a one-timer from the slot past goalie Antero Niittymaki -- which not only got him to the century mark in goals, but also made him the third-fastest in the Original Six franchise's storied history to do it.
Only Jeremy Roenick and Bobby Hull scored 100 in less time with the Hawks than Kane, whom Chicago selected with the first pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Brodeur to make eighth straight start

Tuesday, 03.15.2011 / 1:38 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur will make his eighth straight start Tuesday when his team hosts the Atlanta Thrashers here at the Prudential Center.

"Even though we allow goals, we keep it under control when we're not playing that good. I think that makes it easier for me. I know we're able to shut it down and chip back into the game."
-- Martin Brodeur

The choice is not too much of a surprise, particularly when you consider the future Hall of Fame goalie is 14-1-1 with a 1.81 goals-against average in his last 16 starts. The Devils, 22-3-2 in their last 27 games, have been playing playoff-type hockey for quite some time now as they continue their remarkable push to qualify for the postseason.
"What I'm enjoying right now is, regardless of how we play, we're staying in games," Brodeur said. "Even though we allow goals, we keep it under control when we're not playing that good. I think that makes it easier for me. I know we're able to shut it down and chip back into the game."
Seventeen of their last 19 games have been decided by one goal, including 12 of the last 14 victories. Also, the team's last four wins have been determined either in overtime or the shootout.

Young Isles relish showdown with the Rangers

Tuesday, 03.15.2011 / 12:47 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

"You just see the passion the fans have for it and it really pushes us as players to really want to beat the Rangers. I know the feeling's mutual between them and us, how we want to beat each other." -- Andrew MacDonald on the Islanders-Rangers rivalry

NEW YORK -- When it comes to the rivalry between the Islanders and Rangers, it's not that Frans Nielsen has any hatred toward the team that calls Madison Square Garden home -- it's that the fans do.

"You can talk with a lot of fans at practice or after games, and you can really feel that hate they have," said Nielsen, who is in his third full season with the Islanders. "You want to do it for your fans. You don't want to let them down. Especially when we play in a close game, when you sit on the bench, you can almost follow the fights in the stands. You can see that it's something special."
Defenseman Andrew MacDonald agreed.

Habs GM Gauthier: 'There is will to make game safer'

Monday, 03.14.2011 / 9:40 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- In his letter to his team's fans last week, Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson wrote the team's general manager, Pierre Gauthier, would be present at the annual general managers meetings and would carry out the club's message regarding what it believes is the urgent need for improved player safety across the National Hockey League.
Gauthier said Monday he believes his counterparts around the League are on board and "there is a will to make the game safer."
"A lot of people have seen that we have a great game, we have a fast game and we have really improved the game with our new rules since the lockout, but one of the things that has crept in is there are some collisions at full speed," Gauthier added. "We need to address that fact. We need to adjust. I think there is definitely a will amongst the group here to do something."

Niemi, Crawford face each other tonight in Chicago

Monday, 03.14.2011 / 7:10 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO – They've battled head-to-head almost the entire time they've known each other, only now Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford are wearing different sweaters.

After competing against each other for two years as goalies in the Chicago Blackhawks organization, Niemi and Crawford now find themselves thriving this season starting for different NHL teams.

Niemi signed with the San Jose Sharks last summer as a free agent -- after beating Crawford for a roster spot and leading the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup. His departure, prompted by the Hawks' salary-cap woes, opened a roster spot in Chicago for Crawford – who spent the previous five seasons with the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs.
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Quote of the Day

I would definitely love to play with him. He's a skilled player and over the years he definitely has shown that he can score a lot of goals. I think it would work out well.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on Alexander Semin