Rule 48 has protected NHL players from blindside hits to the head this season, but today major steps were taken to expand the rule to cover any hit in which the offending player appears to target the head, blindside or not. The expansion of the rule still has to be voted on by the NHL Board of Governors, but it is expected to be passed with little to no opposition after being approved by the NHL competition committee.
Brendan Shanahan, who will be replacing the controversial Colin Campbell as league disciplinarian next season, announced the proposed rule change and subsequent competition committee approval in a press conference today, joined by Mathieu Schneider of the NHLPA. The NHLPA and competition committee members hope that by broadening the definition of what kind of hits are encompassed in Rule 48, they can drastically reduce the number of headshots and, as a result, head injuries in the NHL.
The Board of Governors meet on June 21, where a vote on the rule change is expected.