The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/21/11 at 04:40 AM ET
The NHL’s obviously agreed to move the Thrashers to Winnipeg, the NHL, NHLPA and the competition committee have signed off on tweaking the blind-side hitting rule to better protect players whose heads are targeted, and it certainly appears that the salary cap will rise to $64 million after the NHLPA applied its 5% inflator, but as NHL.com’s Dan Rosen notes, none of these issues will become official until the NHL’s Board of Governors approves these changes today in New York:
While considered a formality at this point, the Board of Governors still has to give its stamp of approval for the Thrashers sale to True North Sports and Entertainment and relocation to Winnipeg beginning with the 2011-12 season. The transfer of ownership from Atlanta Spirit to True North Sports and Entertainment requires a 75 percent approval from the Board while relocation needs a majority approval. True North Sports and Entertainment is purchasing the franchise for a reported $170 million, including a $60 million relocation fee.
If approved, the still unnamed Winnipeg franchise will play in the Southeast Division for one more season with the expectation it will be moved into the Western Conference starting with the 2012-13 season.
The Board is also expected to vote on a broader interpretation of Rule 48, which would expand the scope of illegal head hits by taking the words lateral or blindside out from the current language to instead govern all targeted hits to the head. The League’s general managers and Competition Committee have already voted to approve the re-written rule, but the Board is the final hurdle.
The exact wording of the proposed broader interpretation of Rule 48 has not been revealed, but if approved the presumed timeline would have the rule change go into effect for the 2011-12 season.
“Generally speaking it’s taking Rule 48 and expanding it in a fashion that we think will protect players and specifically from illegal checks to the head,” said NHL Senior V.P. of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan. “Last year putting in (Rule 48) was a good first step for the NHL, but we felt we could do more and go a little further.”
And then there’s the cap:
The salary cap for the 2011-12 season is also expected to be discussed at the meeting, but NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told NHL.com Monday night it’s likely that no official announcement on the salary cap will be made until next week. Daly said at the Stanley Cup Final that the cap is likely to land somewhere around $63 million. It was $59.4 million for the 2010-11 season.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.