Representatives from each NHL team are meeting at the Boca Beach Club in Boca Raton, Florida, for the league’s annual GM meetings. The general managers are discussing possible changes to the game.
“It seems like we’re just about perfect,” Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee said according to the Canadian Press. “The game is in a really good place in terms of whatever you want to measure.
“It’s just about as good as it’s ever been, which is great news.”
But on Tuesday, George Parros proposed “minor language changes” to the NHL rulebook, according to TSN’s Frank Servalli. The vice president of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety wants more flexibility to dole out supplemental discipline for sucker punches after watching Tom Wilson’s fight with Ian Cole.
Wilson delivered a 20-second, one-sided pummeling to Cole after the Avalanche defenseman nailed star center Evgeny Kuznetsov with a head shot. Cole, was not surprised by the fight, but, according to TSN, was overwhelmed by it and couldn’t defend himself. He did not land a single punch.
“You’re throwing and you never want to see a guy (injured) afterward,” Wilson said of the fight. “Hockey’s a tough sport. I think if you’ve played a long time you’ve been on both ends of it. You’ve been hurt and it’s no fun.
“I think there’s a good understanding in the game of hockey that what happens on the ice happens on the ice,” Wilson continued. “I think most guys can shake each other’s hands after the game and put that behind them. But you never wanna see a guy get hurt. That’s no fun.”
Cole missed 11 games after having surgery for a broken orbital bone on the left side of his face.
The idea is to allow for a match penalty and/or supplemental discipline for any player who punches either an unsuspecting or unwilling opponent.
In discussion on Tuesday at the annual GM Meetings, was that Rule 46.23 on fighting could now read: “a player who is deemed to have thrown a forceful or violent punch or punches on an unsuspecting, defenseless, or unwilling opponent may be subject to supplementary discipline.”
While Cole landed a dirty hit, which would not make him unsuspecting, the Avalanche defenseman was unwilling to fight and defenseless during it according to Parros. The changes would allow DoPS more freedom to police one-sided fights of this nature and other cheap shots.
Cole referred to the fight with Wilson as a “workplace hazard.”
Parros believes that he has the support of general managers. If the language change gets recommended formally, the competition committee and the Boards of Governors would have to approve for it to become part of the NHL rulebook in future seasons.
Wilson, for his part, has been the focus of DoPS for the last two seasons. Wilson has been suspended four times over the last two years, including a 20-game suspension (later reduced to 14 games) for a headshot on Oskar Sundqvist. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman hoped that the suspension would be a “wakeup call” for the first-line forward.
Now the league is looking for more leeway in the rulebook to curb Wilson’s behavior further.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.