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Tampa Bay Lightning players support rule to ban blind-side head shots

TAMPA — Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier is ready for the NHL to address blind-side head shots.

"The quicker the better," he said.

Although it doesn't appear any rule change would deal with on-ice penalties until next season, the league could have the ability to discipline after the fact at some point this season.

The impetus for action is some ugly, highly publicized plays this season, including Penguin Matt Cooke's shot on Bruin Marc Savard on March 7. Savard suffered a concussion and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Cooke wasn't penalized or suspended because his hit was legal and the referees didn't think he was out to intentionally hurt Savard.

"We talk about concussions more; some guys are out three, four, five, six months with a concussion," Lecavalier said. "It's dangerous, and we have to look at it."

Veteran LW Alex Tanguay agreed that a rule change, sooner or later, would be great.

"But it's got to be the players' responsibility as well. You're playing with someone else's life," he said, adding that he always thought the current rule addressed not trying to intentionally hurt another player.

The league did take swift action in suspending Anaheim's James Wisniewski eight games Thursday for a hit on Chicago's Brent Seabrook on Wednesday, but commissioner Gary Bettman said that situation was "completely different" from Cooke-Savard. Wisniewski, rose up to deliver the hit, and that's a situation where the league had said before the season that it could punish a player, the commissioner said during the "NHL Hour with Gary Bettman" on XM satellite radio.

The scoring touch: LW Todd Fedoruk received a bit of good-natured ribbing before Thursday's game against the Sabres from teammates that he owned the Lightning's longest point streak, three games (one goal, two assists). He had two goals and one assist before this stretch and had gone scoreless since he had a goal against Ottawa on Oct. 29.

"(Wings) Brandon Bochenski is one of those guys who's playing good hockey, and we're working well together, and we're finding the back of the net," Fedoruk said of his linemate. "It comes with ice time, getting involved in the game and getting comfortable and getting that confidence. All those things add up, and points come sometimes."

It's no secret the Lightning needs points from someone other than one of its big three of Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis and Lecavalier.

"When you've got a fourth-line guy scoring, it's big for us," coach Rick Tocchet said. "He's done his job the last couple of games."

Odds and ends: Although C Zenon Konopka said his back felt good and he hoped to play, he was scratched and missed his seventh straight game. LW Ryan Malone (left knee) and D Mattias Ohlund (ankle) each did not dress for a fourth straight game. They continue to be listed as day-to-day. … G Mike Smith visits Plumb Elementary in Clearwater today as part of the "Take Mike Smith to School" contest.

Tampa Bay Lightning players support rule to ban blind-side head shots 03/18/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 19, 2010 12:28am]
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