Stan Bowman will meet his colleagues for the first time as Chicago Blackhawks general manager next week and wants to have a dialogue with them about hits to the head. It's a subject that is close to home for Bowman because his team captain Jonathan Toews has already missed four games with a concussion that resulted from a head hit and remains out indefinitely.
The issues surrounding improved safety aren't new ones. In fact they have been on the agenda of GMs almost every time they've met in the last few years. No one wants to see anyone hurt like that, but no one has come up with a way to balance the safety factor with the desire to keep the game's physical element intact.
That they won't this time either is one view. Here are some others.
News: The Phil Kessel era begins in Toronto
|Phil Kessel's speed and skill are prominent in his first game in Toronto. (Getty Images)|
News: Vincent Lecavalier gets new wingers in Tampa Bay
Views: And not the kind you'd expect for someone like him. Nothing wrong with grinder/energy types like Drew Miller or Stephane Veilleux mind you, but Lecavalier is supposed to be one of the league's elite players and on the top scoring line. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, he hasn't deserved it this season, and maybe even since last mid-season when all the rumors about him being traded back home to Montreal started breaking. Lecavalier had wrist surgery right after the season as well, but the trade issue hung over his head for months, until the no-trade clause in his massive extension kicked in July 1. Still, he has played poorly this season, putting up embarrassing numbers and very likely playing himself out of contention for a spot on Team Canada's Olympic roster. Lightning coach Rick Tocchet is trying to get his captain back on track, and dropping him to the third line Monday was one of the attempts, but it resulted in Lecavalier's lowest ice time total this season. He was back with back with scoring forwards Ryan Malone and Alex Tanguay in Toronto on Tuesday, and scored his second goal of the season. Coincidentally, Team Canada director Steve Yzerman was in the house scouting, but if anyone from Tampa Bay likely impressed him, it was second-year player Steven Stamkos.
News: Bankruptcy judge officially approves Coyotes sale to NHL
Views: Maybe the president should ask Gary Bettman to help get his health care plan passed. This week brought closure to the Phoenix sale process, and above all, proved once again that the commissioner is a master at getting things done his way. It doesn't matter if it involves shoehorning teams into questionable markets, breaking the union through a work stoppage or in this case, keeping a headstrong billionaire from getting his hands on a team, Bettman has shown a knack for outmaneuvering his adversaries even if it requires running roughshod over an icon like Wayne Gretzky. It's just that sometimes the victories can be counterproductive, like when it cost everyone a full season, or now, when the league takes over a team that is bleeding money and almost certainly will move when this season is over. The NHL technically has saved the franchise for Phoenix, but in the meantime the rest of the owners will have to divvy up the costs of keeping it functioning until someone takes it off their hands. But it's hard to imagine anyone will want to keep the team in the desert, supposedly the purpose of all this, not after the Cinderella start by the Coyotes has been witnessed by home crowds averaging around 6,000. But at least Bettman kept Blackberry mogul Jim Balsillie from buying the team, which apparently was more important than anything.
News: Calgary Flames given H1N1 vaccine priority
|Peter Forsberg hopes to earn a spot on Team Sweden for the Olympics. (Getty Images)|
News: Peter Forsberg to play for Sweden in Euro tournament
Views: And so the Foppa return watch begins anew. But don't get too carried away with thoughts of seeing Forsberg in the NHL again. It's possible, if the 36-year-old is really healthy, but Forsberg has played only nine NHL games in the last two years mainly because he was unable to avoid adding to string of different foot, groin and other injuries that have plagued his brilliant career. Now that he has pronounced himself fit to play in the Karjala Cup, the rumor mill has gone into overdrive speculating about his return to the NHL. More likely Forsberg is trying to get himself ready to earn a spot on Team Sweden for the 2010 Olympics at Vancouver.
News: Key leaders resign from NHLPA
Views: Well, key interim leaders anyway. The union's internal situation continues to be a mess since the middle-of-the-night overthrow of former boss Paul Kelly in August, and shows no sign of improving anytime soon. The departures of Ian Penny, who had been acting as executive director, along with several advisory board members wasn't all that surprising, considering the split among the membership since Kelly was fired. They came on the heels of team player reps voting to set up review committee made up of respected veterans, Mark Recchi, Rob Blake, Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Chelios, who are supposed to take an active role in establishing a better functioning system for the union and more important, to select its next leader. But those close to the situation says the turmoil inside the PA continues and the process of rectifying matters will take time, which is not a thing with the current collective bargaining agreement nearing its end and owners look for more give backs in the next round of negotiations.