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GM meetings open with focus on player safety

by Dan Rosen

The National Hockey League's 30 general managers begin three days of meetings Monday in Boca Raton, Fla., to discuss the state of the game. Several topics concerning player safety are expected to be on the agenda, including an update on the League's concussion monitoring and a briefing on the supplemental discipline process.

Also expected to be discussed at some point is the possible reintroduction of the red line and proposals to streamline player equipment. Discussions about modifying or removing the trapezoid that governs a goalie's ability to play the puck, a move to hybrid icing and potential modifications to the current 4-on-4 overtime procedure also may be discussed.
"We're talking about player safety and our greatest asset is our players, so we need to do what we can to protect them," Penguins GM Ray Shero told "That's why we have these meetings, to talk about these things. All these things are worthy for discussion, but we're not trying to revolutionize the game here."
During these meetings, the GMs will break into discussion groups to discuss items on the agenda and then reconvene as a full group to discuss whether they want to make any recommendations to the League's Competition Committee. If a recommendation is accepted by the Competition Committee, it will go to the League's Board of Governors for adoption proceedings.
One of the biggest issues could be the reintroduction of the center-ice red line. The ban on two-line passes was lifted after the work stoppage as part of a package of rules designed to open the game offensively. But after seven years, managers have differing opinions about the initiative.
Some managers believe there is a correlation between player safety and re-introducing the red line.
"It's something we have to look at, the impact it is having on teams and injuries; what is best for the game," Florida GM Dale Tallon told "We need to discuss it. I don't think it has been discussed that often. It's been a body of work since the last (collective bargaining agreement) and maybe it is time to take a look to see if there is a benefit or not. We have to be careful, but I think it's a good conversation piece."

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