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Burke remains in favor of bear-hug rule

Dec 20, 2013, 12:31 PM EDT

Brian Burke AP

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.

  1. lowenni - Dec 20, 2013 at 12:42 PM


    • joey4id - Dec 20, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      Burke didn’t want to be front and center when he joined the Flames. Now he’s front and center of the hockey world. Didn’t take too long for his ego to take as much space as needed.

  2. packerswin96 - Dec 20, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    There is not much that I agree on with Burke, but this or some form of this I do. Something has to be done about these hits of which half of them at least are not the hitters fault.

    • jcmeyer10 - Dec 20, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      I agree and as of right now, he has the best idea out there. Anyone who doesn’t agree with the rule is more than welcome to throw their idea out there.

  3. esracerx46 - Dec 20, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Dude, give it up. I understand where he’s coming from. But its been shot down numerous times with little support in favor.

  4. joey4id - Dec 20, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    I have a problem with allowing players to do what is deserving of a 2 minute penalty today to prevent something else from happening. For every action there is a reaction, and it seems to me we’re going to see a lot more clutching and grabbing along the boards preventing the offensive player from making a play. Don’t take time and space away from the forwards by allowing the “bear hug” which is not a hockey play. This being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if this got voted in. It’s a quick, cheap, and band-aid solution which will silence the critics, and remove some of the spot light from the NHL. Politicians are going to love it. How will this rule trickle down to the amateur level? How will it change game below the pro level?

  5. muckleflugga - Dec 20, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    i like and admire brian burke…

    he functions in a stratosphere occupied by the likes of ken holland and scotty bowman…he’s as honest as they come…he speaks his mind..he’s erudite…he’s opinionated…he played…

    when burke arrived in calgary, credibility of flames hockey improved eightfold…he’s a man of consequence in the game…a commodity lost to flames when daryl was cut loose

    burke’s bear hug rule makes sense, certainly its underlying principle makes sense…

    he’s not talking about full-scale grappling…he’s talking about controlling an opponent with arms stretched to the boards on each side…this as opposed to putting said opponent into row four

    slow the game down in high risk areas…

    it beats the hell out of twenty minute delays cleaning up yard sales and black friday brawling after continual goon shots predominating board play in the present

  6. csilojohnson - Dec 20, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    Good in theory. To easily abused. I can only see it eliminating any battle on the boards. Anytime a player gets beat or is out of position near the boards he will just bear hug. Takes the stick and puck out of play. Not saying i have the answer. Just dont fully agree with Burke.

  7. iHeartHockey31 - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:47 AM

    When I was little & we played football in gym class we used to wear these belts with flags attached to them. Instead of tackling one another, we’d just pull one of the flags and the person would pretend like they’d been tackled. Maybe the hockey players can wear little flag belts too & instead of hitting each other, just pull the other player’s flag.

    Although in order for that to work, it would require the players to tuck in their jerseys so as to make the flags accessible to the players on the other team and that would mean breaking the NHL’s “no jersey tuck rule”. Hmm this is really tricky.

  8. c9castine - Dec 21, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    you guys can’t possibly think this is a good idea. wrapping guys up is terrible for the game.

    its really simple. you don’t hit a guy who is standing away from the boards, period, unless it is in the chest. these guys arent doing 180s and turning their back, they are almost always in a puck protection position. Meaning some part of their body other than the chest is facing you. It isn’t a complicated issue. its a matter of making guys realize the importance of following the rules.

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