BOCA RATON, Fla., March 10 (UPI) -- NHL general managers unanimously recommended Wednesday that "blindside" checks to the head be outlawed, league officials say.
Colin Campbell, NHL vice president for hockey operations, said the 30 GMs attending meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., all agreed to recommend that "a lateral, back-pressure or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact" be grounds for a penalty, The New York Times reported.
The move comes less than a week after Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard was knocked unconscious by a blindside, high-speed shoulder blow to the head delivered by Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins, sustaining a grade 2 concussion.
The newspaper said the rule signals the end of an era in the NHL in which such concussive, open-ice checks were tolerated under the notion that a player must always be on the lookout for a body check rather than "admiring his pass."
"Basically, we're taking a completely legal hit now, with the shoulder, and saying next year that's going to be an illegal hit if delivered to the head," Campbell told the Times.
The measure will go before a player-management competition committee and the NHL board of governors.