Is the NHL Right To Institute Blindside Rule without PA Approval?

Mark RitterSenior Writer IMarch 24, 2010

MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 23:  NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly speaks during a press conference announcing the during the 2009 NHL All-Star weekend at the Queen Elizabeth Fairmont Hotel on January 23, 2009 in Montreal, Canada. The NHLPA announced it would not terminate the CBA.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Written By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter


TSN is reporting that the NHL is looking at instituting the blindside rule without the Players Association’s approval and it says here that they should be applauded for it.

The NHL has been under a ton of scrutiny for not instituting the blindside rule immediately. The fact that they are now trying to speed up the process is an indication that the NHL is tired of screwing around with safety issues and may, in fact, be willing to risk backlash from the National Hockey League Players' Association if necessary.

It’s beyond me why any player or anyone within the Players Association would want to put up any opposition to bringing the rule in right away, after all, the NHL only has the players’ best interests in mind, which should always be the priority and often has not been the case.

The NHL Board of Governors has already voted unanimously to implement the rule change immediately and having the BOG's behind the NHL only strengthens the NHL if faced with opposition from the NHLPA. Hopefully the NHL will follow through with the rule change and be ready to move ahead without the PA’s approval.

I would be remiss if I didn’t state the obvious, which is that if the NHL had instituted stiffer penalties for offending players in the first place then we wouldn’t be in this position, but at this point, it’s water under the bridge.

If the NHLPA was to oppose the new rule it would show a total disregard for the players and, in effect, show its ignorance to what is clearly becoming a major safety issue for players.

Traditionalists will argue that the NHL has never changed rules this far in the season, but again, for the betterment of the game and the safety of the players you have to think everyone (the NHL, the NHLPA, and the players themselves) should be willing to look the other way.

On the flip side, if the NHL neglects to fast track this rule and another player gets rocked unsuspectingly by a predatory hit, then all hell will break lose, which, in turn, will only perpetuate the NHL’s poor reputation for dealing with safety issues in an untimely manner and puts NHL players at risk of injury with no rules in place for appropriate punishment.

Let’s not forget last year’s playoffs when a certain New York Rangers pest unceremoniously stood in front of New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur waving his stick in an unsportsmanlike manner. The NHL reacted swiftly to ensure that crap would not happen again, so they should too in this case.

In the end I am sure the NHLPA will approve the new rules. After all, it’s just the right thing to do. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that this matter doesn’t drag on; it’s just not worth another injury.

To read more NHL news and notes, please visit my Blog at www.theslapshot.com

Until next time,



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