Home > Analysis, General NHL News > Amendment to Rule 48 Another Step In The Right Direction

Amendment to Rule 48 Another Step In The Right Direction

Next year, the hit that knocked Nathan Horton out of the Stanley Cup Finals will be illegal. Photo Credit: Elisa/Getty Images

The general managers took yet another stride in removing and severely punishing hits to the head, proposing elimination of the word “blindside” from Rule 48.

While it continues to be muddled by politics and inconsistent suspensions, the proposed tweak takes yet another step in the right direction. The general managers need to keep players safe, and removing the designation of blindside adds yet another layer of protection. It’s a necessary step toward protecting players and making the game safer.

When the GMs met on June 8, they agreed to amend the rule to encompass all hits to the head. In the first season of Rule 48, several hits fell into a gray area, and former league disciplinarian Colin Campbell needed to make judgment calls. This amendment should eliminate some of that gray area and make these calls easier to make.

“It’s very similar to what we talked about at the GMs meeting in the sense of broadening the rule,” league executive Rob Blake told ESPN. “The exact interpretation will go forward. But we had a good understanding that the union, the players and the NHL together want to go forward for the safety of the players.”

One particular piece of that quote sticks out – “the exact interpretation will go forward.” Brendan Shanahan, Matthieu Schneider and the GMs need to carefully word the revised ruling. Leave no gray areas. Spell it out so the referees don’t need to make quick on-ice interpretations.

Rule 48 was the first major step taken to address player safety. This amendment should further strengthen the rule. Hopefully, the league doesn’t fumble the chance to make another great stride toward keeping the players safe.

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