NHL general managers meeting: Mandatory visors, goalie equipment discussed

Bruce Bennett

The one-day meeting between the NHL's general managers included discussion on player safety, video review and embellishment.

Following the conclusion of the NHL's general managers meetings on Wednesday afternoon, it's clear that the topic of player safety is a top priority.

One of the larger talking points was that of goaltender equipment. Many of the managers believe that current rules allowing for a goaltender's pads to cover 55 percent of the area between the knee and pelvis is too much protection, in addition to creating an unfair advantage for goalkeepers.

Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to NHL Players' Association executive director Donald Fehr, stated that the size of goalie pads might force shooters to attempt higher shots, which could result in head injuries.

This led into the discussion of making visors mandatory.

The NHL is open to grandfathering a visor rule, which would force new players entering the league to wear shields. Current NHL players wouldn't be forced to wear them. Schneider stated that the NHLPA is open to polling the players for their opinion on the issue. While the NHLPA shot down the concept in 2009, there has been a dramatic increase in players who wear visors.

Schneider believes enough time has passed that the outcome of the vote could change.

While the two sides appear in agreement on the issue of visors, they differed in opinion on icing. The NHL is in favor of hybrid icing, while the union expressed a desire for no-touch icing or the current icing system.

Discussions of a coach's challenge and increased video review were also on the docket. The extent of video review could eventually include offsides calls, goaltender interference and examining four-minute high-sticking penalties.

The general managers also continued dialogue on altering boarding calls and improving education on what constitutes boarding. They also discussed embellishment.

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