Heads, You Lose

June 28, 2009

When the Competition Committee, composed of 10 NHL players and team executives, meets in Montreal this week, a key issue will be rules on hits to the head. G.M.'s have expressed "no appetite" for automatic penalties for head shots, saying that such rules would be difficult to enforce and might dilute the game's physicality, but the Players' Association wants change. According to the NHLPA, 84 of the 113 concussions suffered by players in 2006--07 and '07--08 came from unpenalized hits to the head. (A recent example occurred this postseason when the Capitals' Donald Brashear leveled the Rangers' Blair Betts, below, and wasn't sent to the box for the hit.) It's unlikely a rule will pass this week—seven votes are needed—but the union's pressure could be a first step in effecting needed change.

PHOTOTOM SZCZERBOWSKI/US PRESSWIRE (BETTS)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)