With fresh memories of an Olympic tournament in which the pace was fast and the hitting was fierce but largely clean thanks to international rules that severely punish head shots, you'd think NHL general managers would seriously consider adopting those rules during meetings that began Monday in Boca Raton, Fla.
Apparently the only Olympic-related idea discussed by one sub-group, as reported by TSN's Darren Drager, was the idea of having a qualification series for the eighth-seeded team in each conference, similar to the playoff qualifying round at the Vancouver Games.
Just what we need -- longer playoffs that become more of a war of attrition.
The issue of head shots has long been talked about, but general managers have been slow to do anything more than look somber about the plight of players such as David Booth, who took a crippling hit to the head from Mike Richards in October and missed three months.
And they undoubtedly tsk-tsked over Boston's Marc Savard, knocked unconscious Sunday by a blindside hit to the head from Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke. Colin Campbell, the NHL's disciplinarian, hasn't determined whether Cooke will be subject to supplementary discipline.
Monday's session kicked off the three-day meetings with a lot of data about hits to the head and their impact, said Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner.
They saw "very comprehensive presentations about our concussion studies, protocol, things we have done over the years and things we hope to do going forward; a video analysis of concussions in our game over the last 3 1/2 years, trying to segment and document where, why and when they happen, and a historical overview of how the game and the rules of the game have evolved over its history and how we've reacted to trends we see happening on the ice," he said. "A lot of information."
The general managers will start working with that information Tuesday, and two key points are likely to arise.
One is harshly punishing blindside hits. That seems to have support but might raise questions over the judgment involved in deeming a hit a blindside blow.
The other is adding specific language regarding shoulder-to-head hits, such as Cooke's on Savard.
Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero said his player broke no rules. "By the criteria of the hit Matt Cooke did not lunge at him or elbow him," Shero said on NHL Live, a broadcast on the NHL Network.
"It was a shoulder and, as Marc was following through with the shot, he got hit with the shoulder. Everybody wants to protect the players and we want to try to protect them, but it's not as easy as saying let's get rid of this."
If only it were.
As Boston GM Peter Chiarelli told NHL.com, the essential problem is "the balance between physicality and hits to the head."
It is possible to be physical without sending an opponent into a coma. The Olympics proved that.
Mystery of Crosby's missing stick might be solved
The stick Sidney Crosby used to score the Olympic golden goal for Canada against the U.S. might not be lost after all.
Pat Brisson, Crosby's agent, said a shipment of gear that was collected by Hockey Canada and arrived in Toronto on Monday might include the stick -- but only Crosby will know for sure.
He said Crosby will look at pictures of the stick to examine its coding and other characteristics and determine whether it's the stick he threw into the air after scoring the overtime goal against Ryan Miller.
"The mystery could be over," Brisson said.
One of Crosby's gloves hasn't been found, but Brisson said Hockey Canada believes it was mistakenly packed with another player's gear and wasn't stolen.
If Crosby identifies his golden stick, it's his to do what he wants with it.
"It will probably go to the Hall of Fame," Brisson said.
If you missed the NHL network's broadcast of the Calgary Hitmen-Saskatoon Blades junior game Sunday, you'll get two more chances to see future NHL players in action in Canada.
Thursday's game will feature Windsor -- whose roster includes top-three prospects Taylor Hall and Cam Fowler -- at London, Ontario. Sunday's game will feature St. John at Moncton, New Brunswick. A good number of these kids will be in Los Angeles for the NHL draft, to be held June 25-26 at Staples Center.
The end of the Vancouver Canucks' epic, 14-game trip is in sight. Their journey, made necessary when the Olympics and Paralympics took up residency at GM Place, concludes Tuesday night at Colorado and Wednesday at Phoenix. They're a more-than-commendable 7-5-0 so far.