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Gabby supports head-shot punishment

Marian Gaborik #10 of the New York Rangers

Marian Gaborik #10 of the New York Rangers salutes the crowd after defeating the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 at Madison Square Garden on October 14, 2009 in New York, New York. Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES/Bruce Bennett

NEWARK - The Penguins' Matt Cooke avoided suspended yesterday for a blindside hit that felled the Bruins' Marc Savard on Sunday and left him with a Grade 2 concussion.

But with the incident on the front burner, NHL general managers unanimously approved a recommendation that "lateral, back pressure or blindside" hits to the head will be punished by a minor or major penalty starting next season.

The recommendation needs to be approved by the league's competition committee and board of governors. Several players believe the head-shot situation had to be discussed.

"It's been an issue this year, guys going down and missing a lot of games," said Marian Gaborik, who referred to a similar hit by Cooke earlier in the year on Artem Ansimov. "It needs to be addressed. There needs to be mutual respect out there. When you see a guy in a vulnerable position, it doesn't do any good to anybody to hit him like that, like Cooke. He's done it a few times already."


Blue chips

Henrik Lundqvist had last been yanked from a game on Jan. 23 against Montreal and was replaced by Matt Zaba. He also was removed against Philadelphia on Dec. 30, when Chad Johnson relieved him . . . Brandon Prust's goal in the second was his first as a Ranger. Jody Shelley, who took the initial shot, was credited with his first assist as a Blueshirt . . . Shelley and Pierre-Luc Letourneau LeBlond squared off on the faceoff immediately following Bryce Salvador's goal in the first . . . Enver Lisin and Aaron Voros were the healthy scratches.


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