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The Globe and Mail

League reins in promise of quick head-shot rule

For now, the NHL's attempt to fast-track a new head-shot rule will focus on supplementary discipline and not necessarily changing the rules on the ice, NHL senior vice-president of hockey operations Colin Campbell told NHL Live radio yesterday.

"I don't anticipate doing anything with a penalty call on the ice right now," Campbell told the league-operated station. "I think that would be a difficult thing to consistently administer at this point in time.

"That's not our issue. Our issue probably is making sure that some of the hits we've experienced can be dealt with from the supplemental discipline aspect. That's what we're trying to accomplish at the moment."

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Last week, during their quarterly meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., NHL general managers unanimously approved a rule in which blindside hits to the head would be outlawed. Pressure grew on the GMs after yet another incident the day before their meetings began, when the Pittsburgh Penguins' Matt Cooke levelled Boston's Marc Savard with a hit to the head, concussing the Bruins' star centre.

Under the wording of the proposed rule, "a violation would result in a minor or major penalty and shall be reviewed for supplementary discipline."

Long-term, that is still what the league hopes to accomplish with its new directive, according to Campbell. However, in its attempts to get the process completed - vetting it through the NHL Players' Association, the competition committee and the board of governors - the league will focus on supplementary discipline for the moment, in the hopes that that threat will represent enough of a short-term deterrent.

On Tuesday, The Globe and Mail reported the league is preparing a DVD to circulate to its 30 teams in order to illustrate what is and isn't a penalty under the new rule. Campbell said at the time that if rushing the rule through saved even one player from a concussion, then the effort would be worth it.

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