The way Steven Stamkos sees it, the onus is back on the players to eliminate the dangerous head shots that have plagued the league.

The Lightning center called it great to expand Rule 48 to allow minor or match penalties for hits in which "the head is targeted and the principal point of contact." The rule previously prohibited only lateral or blind-side hits to the head.

"Now it falls upon us as players to be accountable," Stamkos said last week at the Ice Sports Forum. "I don't know what other rules you can put in place. Guys have to be responsible."

Concussions caused by malicious hits are a hot-button issue for the league.

Penguins All-Star Sidney Crosby might not be ready for the season because of concussion symptoms that began after a brutal head shot Jan. 1 from then-Capitals C David Steckel. The career of Bruins C Marc Savard might be over after he played only 32 games in the past year and a half because of two concussions, one coming on a blind-side hit to the head from Penguins pest Matt Cooke.

"I'm not saying every hit that resulted in a concussion was avoidable," Stamkos said. "It's a contact sport. It's so fast, you're going to get them. But in order to minimize them, you have to be aware of the situation on the ice.

"You look at some of these head shots, guys are blatantly putting their elbows up. A guy's back is turned and you hit him into the boards. That comes down to common sense. We all know how to deliver a clean body check. You have to be accountable for your actions on the ice."