The NHL and NHL Players' Association will convene for a competition committee meeting on Tuesday, where a varying degree of hot-button issues will be discussed. Mandatory visors will play the lead in these meetings, with the concept of hybrid icing and the size of goaltender's equipment also on the docket. The main theme is increased awareness of player safety.
Representation for the NHL will include David Poile of the Nashville Predators, Ed Snider of the Philadelphia Flyers, Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings, Randy Carlyle of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The NHLPA will be represented by Alex Pietrangelo and David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, Cory Schneider of the Vancouver Canucks, Michael Cammalleri of the Calgary Flames and Ron Hainsey of the Winnipeg Jets.
Referee Don Van Massenhoven will act as an observer, while NHLPA special assistant Mathieu Schneider will chair the meeting as a non-voting member.
Visors have quickly become a key issue, which is seemingly at an impasse. A majority of players already wear protective shields and it appears as though players who don't will become relics of the game, much like those who played without helmets. While the NHL has firmly supported mandatory visors for sometime, the NHLPA has remained steadfast in its opinion that it is up to a player's discretion.
A recent survey of the NHLPA's membership has shown that players might be open to the concept of grandfathering in a mandatory visor rule. Tuesday's meeting will likely be a strong indicator of whether that is truly the case.
Hybrid icing continues the trend of player safety. Icing has largely been viewed as a potentially dangerous dynamic of the game that could be altered. The league is hoping to establish the hybrid rule, which would make the faceoff dots -- not the end line -- the point of icing in the event of a foot race between players. This would involve judgement calls from referees, something the players are opposed to. The NHLPA has been more in favor of using a no-touch icing policy, something the league isn't interested in.
In terms of goaltending equipment, some believe that it is too large, specifically, knee and leg padding. The goal is to properly protect the goaltenders without creating an unfair advantage when facing shooters.
In order for any of these issues to be reviewed at a higher level, the competition committee will need a a two-thirds majority vote. From there, the issues could be presented before the NHL board of governors and the NHLPA executive committee.