Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Instigating Real Change in the NHL?

by Jes

The instigator penalty has always been a complete fallacy. If you allow fighting (and the NHL basically does), why would you unduly punish the initiating party for starting it?

As it stands right now, not only does a player get booted from the game, but they earn a 2-game suspension if they get 3 instigators.

Well, this issue has been a bone of contention for many folks out there, from the Rock 'Em Sock'Em Don Cherry, to the fighting-is-ebil Mike Bossy.

It was nice to hear the NHL GMs were discussing the issue, instead of bickering over revenue sharing or ways to avoid going to the nightclubs with Gary Bettman.

From TSN.ca:
Currently the rules stipulate that a player who picks up three instigator penalties warrants a two-game suspension. Some GMs believe that makes it too difficult for tough guys to protect their star teammates.

"That's an agenda item that I requested," Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke said after the first day wrapped up at a posh resort hotel. "I think we need to raise the number of instigator penalties a player can take before getting suspended. I do not favour the elimination of the penalty but I think we've got to get to five or six (instigator penalties) before a player gets suspended so they can do their jobs and protect their teammates."

Through Feb. 15. there were 47 instigator penalties handed out this season, up from 39 through the same number of games last season.

Ben Eager of the Philadelphia Flyers is the only player to have earned the two-game suspension so far this season for earning three instigators, but the issue with some GMs is that some players get two instigators and are hesitant to drop the gloves.

"So the question is, when a guy is at two instigator penalties, does it affect him to say, `I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to protect my guy. I'm not going to protect my goalie because I'm going to be suspended.' That was really the debate today," said Columbus Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean.
So, the GM's weren't actually talking about SCRAPPING the stupid game-misconduct and suspension part entirely *sigh*... solving an issue half way is such a cop-out

Of course, there are the idiot GM's out there that suck the teat of Bettman's milk
"I do think there's enough time in the game to play tough and deliver that message appropriately," echoed Toronto Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson. "I do think it would be hard to go backwards in terms of vigilance against it."

...said the GM who has never played an NHL game.

So, in the end, don't expect anything good to be done in that regard.

One interesting idea was put forth by Brian Burke: the idea of going to one-minute penalties in overtime...

"I don't know how far that one's going to get," said Burke. "The logic of it, obviously, if you take a tripping penalty in the first period it's 10 per cent of the period and it's a 5-on-4 power play."

"That same foul in overtime is 40 per cent of the period and it's a 4-on-3 power play which has a dramatically higher conversion rate. So to me it makes sense. But I'm not sure my logic will carry the day here."
It's easy to see Burke's logic, but I feel a penalty should be a full penalty no matter what time of the game it is. It's bad enough that refs tend to let up late in the games and OT anyway, so why make a penalty less of a penalty just because it's OT? You SHOULD punish teams for taking dumb penalties at such a point of the game.

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I really think they should ease the hell up on instigators, if not taking them out altogether. Unless one guy's getting his face pounded into the ice for no good reason (in which case, it's an Agressor game-misconduct), I really don't see the point in giving 17 minutes to one guy and five to the other. As it stands, unless there's a contract in fucking triplicate, one guy gets tossed for a period. Pretty damned silly if you ask me.
First off, we should link up: http://twominutesforblogging.blogspot.com

I agree with your assessment and will take it a step further. The instigator rule should be modified so that it is either a ten minute misconduct or a two minute minor. I think the NHL would opt for the minor since it produces an odd-man situation and more goal scoring - their end all for bringing back fans (that's a topic in and off itself). They should also remove the five minutes left in a game instigator rule. It's pure nonsense and destroys the potential for a dramatic ending to a game... even when the score is out of hand. Ferguson is right actually... the liberal media will come calling if and when the NHL gets smart about the instigator. However, if they were really smart, they'd just ignore the crybabies that would rather see a yuppie game of hockey. There WILL be another story somewhere and they will go away.
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