Wednesday, June 20, 2007


NHL Goes A-Tweakin'

by Jes

While not discussing the fate of the Nashville Predators, the NHL head honchos dined on the blood of virgins and made a few minor rule tweaks.

A player may now be awarded a free shot if he is fouled on a clear breakaway anywhere in the neutral or attacking zones. Previously, a penalty shot was awarded only when a player on a clear breakaway was fouled on the attacking side of the centre line.

This doesn't look as good as you might think. Most players can't skate with the puck faster than a charging defender, and most anyone who has a clear-cut breakaway from their own blueline will be caught up to.

All faceoffs must now be conducted at one of the nine dots painted on the rink. Some faceoffs, such as when a puck left the playing surface, were previously held on unmarked ice parallel to the dot nearest the place where the puck left the playing surface.

Makes sense. I always found it weird that the linesmen held faceoffs in arbitrary locations.

The interference rule was altered so referees can at their discretion assess a major penalty and a game misconduct when an injury results from an act of interference. Previously, only a minor penalty could be assessed for interference.

Refresh my memory like F5: Has there ever been a major penalty for interference?? If a player commits a major foul, it'll be high-sticking or boarding or kneeing or checking-from-behind. I can't recall ever seeing a plain major penalty for interference.

The term "gross misconduct" was eliminated from the rule book. A game misconduct will now be assessed, and accumulated game misconduct penalties can lead to fines or suspensions.

Ahh, let's soften the language, shall we?

"Gross" sounds almost violent and criminal. Hockey doesn't want anything that might make the sport seem like a barbaric game, so they go to the more tame "Game" misconduct.

Same thing, just worded differently to hide the real impact of such an infraction.

Overall, some decent tweaks, but nothing that will rock your world.

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Aside from softening the language, what was done? All I see is that the League is giving the on-ice officials too much power. Or, that the League is attempting to take away the power from the players to police themselves.

Jesus Jes, Bettman's working his ass off to make sure the NHL becomes as watered down as the NBA.
The reason why no one has called a major penalty for interference before was because, as it says in the article, "Previously, only a minor penalty could be assessed for interference. " So even if a major penalty was warranted [ie, perhaps Pronger's elbow to McAmmond in the play-offs could've been an interference major], it couldn't have been called as such at the time.

If Pronger's elbow warranted a major penalty, it would be a MAJOR for ELBOWING.

The only thing I can see that this does is give more power to the linesmen to call stuff that the 2 refs miss (as if they should miss stuff...sheesh)
I think it's more to cover something like Raffi Torres' hits on Michalek and Williams, or Cam Janssen's hit on Tomas Kaberle, or any of Colby Armstrong's infamous collisions, where it's interference, and that's all it is, but you can't give him five even though it's an injurious hit. Now, the refs have the flexibity to say, "Alright, he didn't get his elbow up, but he crushed dude's skull, so we've still got to toss him." Five and a game for interference. Sounds weird, but I see where they're coming from here, as a way of ducking the "hitting to the head" penalty in international hockey and the OHL.
Regarding Gross vs Game, this is from TSN:
The term gross misconduct has been eliminated from the rule book and replaced with game misconduct. This will allow for the accumulation of game misconducts for the purposes of suspensions, where in the past a gross misconduct did not count towards suspension thresholds.
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