The NHL general managers and team presidents met today here in Pittsburgh. One of the big topics was hits to the head, and the GMs again decided against pursuing the new standard in the Ontario Hockey League where any contact to the head is a penalty.
Caps GM George McPhee needed to catch a flight, but here’s a few quick updates from him on some matters.
Q: Any updates on Fedorov, Kozlov or Brashear?
McPhee: Not right now — we hope to have some [updates] by the end of the week. We expect to get in touch with their representatives by the end of the week. It has been a busy week for us because we were at the combine [in Toronto] for six nights, got home for one night and flew here.
Q: What is the team doing as part of the NHL’s investigation into the steroid accusations?
McPhee: We’re sort of jointly participating in this [with the NHL]. We’ve discussed the matter with our player rep (Brooks Laich) and then with all of our training, our equipment managers, strength coach — everybody to see if anybody would happen to know anything about this. Nobody knows a thing, so we don’t think there is any truth to it and we hope the NHL’s investigation bears that out.
Q: Has anyone from the league talked to the Caps about the Winter Classic?
McPhee: No, not yet. We’re hopeful that it is us. We know our name is out there, but we haven’t had any word from the league yet. We’d like to know.
Q: What’s your take on hits to the head?
McPhee: The issue really was should the league adopt the OHL rule which is any contact to the head versus what we are doing now and the sentiment among the group was that we should leave it as is. We want contact in the game, and we want great hits in the game. From time to time, someone will go over the line and there will be consequences.
We want to keep it the way it is because the game is probably the most entertaining that it’s been in its history with speed and goal scoring and physical play.
Q: Do you think the league is handing out suspensions fairly? Your team was not happy with the Brashear suspension.
McPhee: We think the league does everything it can to be fair. We trust Colin Campbell’s judgment. We didn’t agree with that suspension and it seemed unfair, but we’re not going to agree every time. That one seemed to be excessive and it is unfortunate. The league isn’t perfect and they’re not going to get every one right.