A recap of Wednesday's GMs meeting

June, 2, 2010

PHILADELPHIA -- The league's general managers are looking for a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct to be assessed next season for the much-discussed blindside blow to the head.

There had been some discussion that perhaps the GMs would fall back on demanding a penalty and simply let the league provide supplemental discipline, but that wasn't the message coming out of Wednesday's meetings in Philadelphia.

"We want an in-game penalty," said Toronto GM Brian Burke. "It's one thing to suspend a player, but that has no impact on the game, it doesn't penalize the team for that game, and our feeling is it should be five [minutes] and a game."

Nashville GM David Poile pointed out that since the topic became a hot-button issue at the GMs meetings in March and the addition of supplemental discipline for the hits before the playoffs, there haven't been any serious blindside hits.

"I think the players have been much more respectful, if that's the word to use," he said.

Poile said the rule represents a seminal change to how the game is played and called.

"There's the players, we want them to be on board. The referees, we need them to understand it," he said. "The biggest change would be that the onus has been on the guy that was going to hit. Now the hitter has got to take some responsibility. I think we're getting there."

The proposal for a five-minute major and game-misconduct penalty will go to the competition committee and then the board of governors before it becomes law.

"I can't imagine that there'd be any opposition to it," Burke said. "We've got to take that hit out of the game."

Tallon wishes Hawks well

Wednesday will be an interesting night for new Florida GM Dale Tallon as he will watch the team he helped build, the Chicago Blackhawks. Tallon was pushed out of his Hawks GM role last summer and has had nothing to do with the team's successful regular season and playoff run this year.

"I've been watching them on TV and I haven't been to a game, so it will be interesting to see how I feel tonight, but I'm excited for them and I'm really proud of them and I wish them all the best and I hope they go all the way," Tallon said after the GMs meetings.

Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi cast a vote for Tallon as GM of the year.

"I voted for Dale Tallon," Lombardi said. "Tell me who's done a better building job than him in the last six years, and if GMs are builders, I think that's a phenomenal job."

Tallon said he doesn't resent the Blackhawks' success, but believes their success has been a catalyst to him getting back in the business as quickly as he did. He was hired by the Florida Panthers last month.

"That's just the way it is. I got my position in Florida because of it and I'm moving on," Tallon said. "I'm going to try and duplicate that feat in Florida. They gave me every opportunity [in Chicago]. I had 33 wonderful years with that organization. I've got nothing but great things to say about them all.

"I'm happy that they've done well. It would have been tougher probably if they hadn't done well as far as my future's concerned, but the fact that they're winning has been a plus for me."

He talked about the growth of players like Dustin Byfuglien and Antti Niemi, but added, "I think I'm most proud of how they act off the ice and how they get along; it's great character and that's what I want to build in Florida, the same type of group."

"They really support each other," Tallon added. "They're still young too, by the way; they've got a bright future."

So, it appears, does Tallon.


While there was a lot of discussion amongst the GMs about the number of games decided by shootouts, they were a bit vague as to what to do about the phenomenon.

"I think I can say safely for the group that when we approved the shootout, we never thought we'd get this many shootouts," Burke said. "I know our fans like it, but it's a skill competition, it decides games, and I think more games are being decided by shootouts than any of us envisioned when we voted for the rules.

"I don't know what the answer is to that -- longer overtimes, if you play part of the overtime 4-on-4 then to go to a 3-on-3 -- I don't know what the answer is. But an unreasonable number of games are being decided by a shootout," the Toronto GM said.

According to the NHL, 184 of 301 overtime games went to the shootout this season, 159 of 282 in 2008-09 and 156 of 272 in 2007-08.

Calgary GM Darryl Sutter said it's really just a function of the salary cap and the parity in the league.

"I really don't know how you address it," Sutter said. "That's what the cap created, the parity. You have a huge number of games that are decided now by shootouts. So be it."

Nothing is likely to happen, though, for next season.

"I don't think it's a pressing issue," Burke said. "I think it's more a something to keep your eye on."

Kaberle and the Leafs

The one issue Burke has on his plate is the potential move of top defenseman Tomas Kaberle. The slick-skating Czech defender is about to enter the final year of his contract with the Leafs and Toronto would like to move him when there is a window to trade him this summer when his no-trade clause is not in effect.

"The biggest issue we have on our team is Tomas Kaberle's status. We've informed the teams how his no-trade works," Burke said. "John Ferguson [Burke's predecessor as Toronto GM] rigged that very cleverly, that if the team didn't have success, it went away when the draft began. So we're listening. We need to add a winger that can score, preferably with some size, and we need some secondary toughness. So those will be the areas we try to address."

Draft debate

There remains some debate about how the first two picks in June's draft will work out. Edmonton owns the first overall pick, while Boston, which acquired the second overall pick in a deal with Toronto, will be waiting to see which direction the Oilers will go as they will select either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin.

The two have talked about how the first two picks might fall and there has been some discussion about a possible deal between the two teams to ensure both get what they want.

"We came out with one guy ahead, but it flip-flopped," Boston GM Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday. "If it was a sizable enough gap, we would look at a deal. Whatever premium we put on it, their gap might be bigger."

Chiarelli said calls from other teams about the Bruins' pick have started to trickle in. "They're slowly coming forward the last couple of days," he said.

The calls might not be about only the No. 2 pick; Chiarelli has a plethora of attractive picks at his disposal at the draft, including the 15th, 32nd and 45th overall this year and four picks in the first two rounds in 2011.

Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini was headed to a scouting meeting at the conclusion of Wednesday's meetings and the two top prospects will be the center of discussion.

"I've purposely not tried to express my views to our scouts as much as possible," he said

Would he trade the No. 1 pick?

"Someone said, 'Would you trade the pick,'" he said. "I said, 'Honestly, I can't imagine what it would take for me to actually say this makes sense for the Edmonton Oilers organization that I move this pick.' If I can't think about it, I guess I always have to be open to suggestions, but I can't really think of what that is right now."

Scott Burnside

ESPN Senior Writer




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