NHLPA director Paul Kelly just spoke to a collection of writers here at Mellon Arena about a few topics du jour.
Kelly said the discussion about hits to the head is not over yet and will it will come up again at the competition committee meeting. He said a poll of the league’s players showed that 70 percent were in favor of a rule proposed by the NHLPA to penalize hits to the head.
Kelly said the rule has three parts:
1) the player must be in a vulnerbale position
2) the officials must decide the player was targeting the head
3) the hit can be with any part of the body, including the shoulder
“We think the rule proposal not only protects the players, it also protects the physical nature of the sport,” Kelly said.
As for his reaction to why the general managers don’t seem interested in changing the rules:
“I would think these GMs would feel an obligation to protect their players, to protect their star players,” he said.
The second part of the discussion involved drug testing. Kelly reiterated that playoff drug testing was something the league and not the NHLPA decided against in the past because the teams didn’t want their players distracted.
He questioned whether year-round drug testing would be viable because players live all over the world in the offseason, but said the NHLPA would vote on it at the meeting in a couple of weeks in Las Vegas.