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“We’re doing the most that we can to protect players.”

Concussions and head shots have long been a problem for the NHL, but the spotlight shined brighter on the league after star player Sidney Crosby was lost to a season-ending concussion in January.

That came on the heels of concussions to Boston’s Marc Savard and Florida’s David Booth that sparked the move to create Rule 48. High-profile hits by Boston’s Zdeno Chara, that sent Montreal’s Max Pacioretty into a stanchion, and one by Vancouver’s Aaron Rome on Bruins forward Nathan Horton in the Stanley Cup finals would not be subject to penalty under Rule 48.

“We have to protect the game and the players,” St. Louis president John Davidson said. “They are very intense people. They care about winning and they care about playing hard. Sometimes the line gets crossed and we have to as a league that we take care of that.

“I want to see as we move forward with this that we really get firm and tough and make sure the suspensions are firm and tough. We have to stop this. We have to think of these players as players, we have to think of them as fathers, and think about them as people who are going to retire and have a life to live.”