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NHL.com: Spring 2009 GM Meetings

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
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

Author: NHL.com Staff

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