NHL Players’ Association in discussions over proposed head shot rule

NHL players are looking at making some changes to the proposed rule on blindsided hits to the head.

TORONTO — NHL players are looking at making some changes to the proposed rule on blindsided hits to the head.

The NHL Players’ Association received a DVD detailing the new rule on Friday night and held a conference call that evening with the five members who sit on the competition committee — Jason Spezza, Ryan Miller, Mathieu Schneider, Jeff Halpern and Brian Campbell.

The group appears to have come up with some sort of counter-proposal for the league, although a union spokesperson said Monday that one hasn’t officially been made.

Spezza told reporters in Montreal that the players want to make a small change to the rule, which would serve as a “Band-Aid” solution for the remainder of the year.

“We’ve talked about some things and we have to bounce it back off the league now,” said Spezza. “We’ve come to a decision that we want to do something, but the league has to agree to what we want to do.”

After meeting earlier this month in Florida, the NHL’s 30 GMs proposed giving referees the ability to call a minor or major penalty for any blindside hit where the primary point of contact is the head. It was intended to be implemented for next season, but a series of recent incidents has prompted the league to look at fast-tracking the process.

The NHLPA first expressed a desire to see a head-checking penalty in March 2009. Spezza indicated that the players are in favour of tweaking the current proposal.

“It’s very similar,” he said. “We’re looking for a Band-Aid fix for the rest of the year in case something happens, but in the long term, we have to sit down together and find a better solution than just tweaking a little rule. It has to be something that’s talked about. It can’t just be sprung on.

“It’s too bad because we’ve been talking for two years to try to get something in place, but it’s hard to find the proper language and the right rule.”

Any changes made to the rulebook require the approval of both the competition committee and NHL board of governors.