NHL won't change rule after injury to Avs' Calvert

The NHL on Tuesday indicated it will not make a rulebook change in the wake of an injury to Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Calvert on Saturday.

Play continued in the third period in Vancouver as Calvert was left bleeding on the ice after being struck in the head by a shot from the Canucks' Elias Pettersson. On-ice officials allowed play to continue because the Canucks had possession.

Despite an outcry from the Avalanche since the incident, NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom said Tuesday that no movement toward a rule change was made at the league's meeting of general managers in Toronto.

"What we direct officials to do is, when there's a serious injury and any of them sees it, we want them to kill the play, especially when it's in the head or the face," Walkom said. "When a player is seriously injured on the ice, we don't want a lot of time going by before we kill the play. It seemed like an eternity in that game, even though it was probably closer to four or five seconds. The puck was moving around. The player attempted to get up. Of course we would have liked to blow the play down earlier, especially when it resulted in an injury."

The Canucks' Alexander Edler scored as play continued to close their deficit to 4-3 before the Avalanche went on to win 5-4 in overtime.

Among those Colorado players who protested was star center Nathan MacKinnon, who said, "A guy laying there, bleeding out the side of his head. I can only imagine if that was LeBron James and his head was bleeding, and the other team was allowed to take a 3-pointer to tie the game. I know it's not the ref's fault. It's the league rule. I don't think he's faking it to try and get a whistle."

Walkom added that the sight of blood isn't always a reason to stop a game.

"I think it's more. ... If you see a player get a wicked stick to the head or a puck to the face, you can get a good sense from the players around him and how the player is acting on the ice," he said. "We don't want players that are seriously hurt on the ice. We want to kill the play. That was just an unfortunate situation in that game."

Added Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher as his fellow GMs ultimately supported the NHL's stand: "The officials have the discretion to blow the play down. I can't recall many instances like that where there's been an incident. Usually they're making the right call at the time. I don't expect there to be any rule change to that effect."

Calvert, in his 10th NHL season, has been ruled out indefinitely after going through concussion protocol. The 29-year-old has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 20 games with the Avalanche this season.

--Field Level Media

11/19/2019 22:52

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