By Pieter Uni
Last Sunday, Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins crushed Bruins forward Marc Savard with a hit that will likely sideline the Boston forward for the rest of the season.
The NHL brass decided not to punish Cooke for his controversial head shot, but the hit has only increased the debate on head shots and their place in hockey.
On Thursday, with his Detroit Red Wings finishing up their three-day visit to Kelowna, GM Ken Holland weighed in on the subject.
“Obviously we need a rule change and we are going to have a rule change,” said Holland. “All the managers agree and we are working away to making our game safer.”
Head shots was the hot topic at the league’s general managers’ meetings in Florida and Holland believes a change to the rule book is inevitable, but when it will be put in place is still up in the air.
“I think as quickly as possible,” said Holland when asked about the timetable surrounding the expiated rule change. “I think that Colin Campbell is trying to push it through as fast as possible.”
Savard, who lost consciousness and left the game on a stretcher before being taken to hospital, is one of 40 players who have missed 360 games this season due to concussion or head-related injuries. Holland said it is time to make a change.
“I said for the last for 18 months . . . we have to protect our players,” he said. “I don’t think that if a player is in a vulnerable position that it gives you a free opportunity to injure the player.”