More Layers, More Mush
BOSTON--it's good that this is the one area in which there actually appears to be some limited sense of co-operation between the league and the players.
The competition committee is split between representatives of the two, and theoretically should produce rules and ruling that reasonably effect the needs and desires of both sides. Once upon a time, at the tail end of the 2004-05 lockout when the idea was first developed, the concept was that the competition committee would consist of 10 individuals, each there to vote their conscience regardless of what their constituency might be.
Those quaint old days are long gone. As seen today when the competition committee met at a downtown Boston hotel, this has grown from its original notion into a new level of bureaucracy and, really, an extension of the collective bargaining process.
At various times there were upwards of 30 people in the room, including NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players Association chief Donald Fehr. The players are now represented on the committee by Chris Clark, Chris Campoli, Mike Cammalleri, Ryan Miller and David Backes. Miller and Backes participated by phone today, while Steve Montador was present as well in a, well, non-voting, informal way.
For the owners/management, the voting reps where Jim Rutherford, Ed Snider, David Poile, Steve Yzerman and Joe Nieuwendyk, with the league's new hanging judge Brendan Shanahan in attandance as well along with other hockey ops people like Colin Campbell and Rob Blake as well.
The main result people were looking for was some kind of agreement on the changes Shanahan wants to make with Rule 48, the legislation guiding head shots. Basically, it appears the idea will be add the word "defenceless" to the rule and take out "blindside," and all members of the committee appear to agree.
How this will make Shanahan's new job any easier is, well, mystifying. But this layer of NHL bureaucracy has given it a rubber stamp, with the governors next. More language, a controversial rule sliced into smaller and smaller sections, all to avoid the place where the NHL eventually has to go; a total ban on hits to the head.