GMs change tune on head shots

"The hitting in the game is great, but every once in a while you have to sit back and say, ‘That hit may be legal, but is there something wrong with it?' The only issue I have is when the player is vulnerable, there is a blindside hit and the only contact is made to the player’s head.

"If there are three or four of those a year, maybe we can attack and eliminate a lot of them."

– Capitals GM George McPhee

If we're looking at a rule change that's only going to come into play three or four times a year, it's obviously not going to be all that radical, but this is at least a tiptoe in the right direction for the NHL. It shows that GMs are taking the concussion issue more seriously and that they're listening to what a large majority of their fans – and players – are calling for.

This, combined with improvements in equipment like the new helmet Mark Messier is advocating for and less rigid shoulder pads, will hopefully help reduce numbers like these.

Speaking of the the new bucket, the GMs heard the spiel from Messier and company today as part of their meetings in Toronto and came away pretty impressed. Brian Burke said he's going to outfit the team's AHL club with the helmets as a trial run, which leads me to believe we could be seeing NHL clubs in them as soon as next season.

I had a chance to talk to one of the few players wearing one this season earlier today in the Leafs' Garnet Exelby, and he gave it a glowing review (story should be at globesports.com later tonight). Exelby's already had three concussions in his career and for obvious reasons sought out the helmet this summer when he heard about it.

I'm sure other players will do the same once word gets around.

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