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Burke remains in favor of bear-hug rule

Jamie Cudmore

Brian Burke, the former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, speaks at a news conference in Toronto, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in advance of Canada’s World Cup qualifier against the United States on Saturday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Galit Rodan)


Remember Brian Burke’s proposed bear-hug rule? If you don’t, click here. Or watch this.

Basically, what Burke suggested was a rule where a defender approaching a puck-carrier along the boards could wrap his arms around said puck-carrier in order to take him into the boards. While that would be holding as the rules are currently written, the goal was to avoid dangerous hits from behind, of which we’ve seen quite a few recently in the NHL.

On Tuesday, Burke reiterated the virtues of his bear-hug idea.

“We have players turning right back into the defensemen when he’s already committed to the hit,” the Flames’ acting general manger said, per the Calgary Herald. “There’s nothing he can do.

“We have to put the bear-hug rule back through so that the defenseman can grab him and take him into the glass.”

Granted, with new rules, unintended consequences almost always follow. Does the NHL really want players bear-hugging each other as soon as the play goes to the boards? How would the rule be written? What would be the limits?

Even with all the boarding and hitting-from-behind suspensions that have been handed down in the past couple of weeks, the bear-hug rule seems like a long shot to be adopted by the NHL.

It’s an idea though.