Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Old NHL Is Back. Is Anyone Surprised?

Morris Dalla-Costa pens a very important piece here about how clutch and grab hockey is back and the fans are the ones who have to suffer through this crap simply because the NHL and its officiating department can't do anything consistently for more than a season or two.

"There has been a noticeable increase in restraining fouls that go unpunished. There has been an increase in what is termed game management by officials. That means, depending on the situation, a penalty that is called at one point may not be called later in the game.

That goes back to the ridiculous notion that no matter what a player does late in a close game, no penalty should be called so that "players can decide a game, not the referees."

No doubt this turn of events is making Ron Maclean over at Hockey Night In Canada very happy. In fact, it probably makes many in the Canadian hockey media establishment very happy as well.

In my mind, we had only one year of exceptional hockey under the new rules and that was in 05-06. Last year we saw it slip and this season it's back to rewarding the mediocre and the slow footed, just like it was back in the dirty late 90's and early 00's.

The NHL pays lip service to the fact that it wants more goals and more excitement, yet they still allow goalies like Roberto Luongo, Martin Gerber and Dwayne Roloson to wear ridiculously huge gear, especially on their shoulders.

Now they're letting the obstruction go. What's next? Maybe the toe-in-the-crease rule? If a goalie even gets touched nowadays, the play-by-play and colour commentators start complaining about how goalies are getting run.

Why do we glorify the goalie so much anyways? We used to call goalie equipment "the tools of ignorance" and now mediocre to terrible goalies like Dwayne Roloson get more press than the Ales Hemsky's and the Sam Gagner's.

Enough is enough. Shrink the equipment. Reinstall the obstruction standard. And let's make all penalties a full two-minutes regardless if the power-play team scores or not while we're at it.

If the game is ever going to grow in the USA (don't listen to the Canadian media elite who says it's not important) goal scoring needs to go up. Big time.

I didn't hear anyone complaining about the game in the 80's when there were sometimes 10 goals scored in a game. From what I remember, that was some of the best and most exciting hockey ever played.

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