Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Sharks coach Todd McLellan has the numbers on his board in his office in San Jose.
When he broke into the NHL as an assistant coach with the Red Wings, he ran the power play. In three years, the Wings had 461 power-play opportunities, then 398, then 391. That was right after the 2004-05 lockout, when the NHL tightened enforcement of infractions like hooking, holding and interference.
In 2005-06, teams ranged from 541 power-play opportunities to 411. The average team had 480. This season, no one is one pace for more than 297 power-play opportunities. One team is on pace for as few as 211.
Another way to look at it: The average NHL game had 11.7 power plays in 2005-06. The average NHL game has had about 6.2 this season.
But that doesn’t mean hooking, holding and interference have crept back into the game to a large degree and the referees have been swallowing their whistles. It means hooking, holding and interference have left the game to a large degree. The referees have less to call.
more plus other NHL topics...
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
A player is not allowed to "make himself bigger" with the use of his stick and/or hands to detain or restrain an opponent as you describe in your question. Should this occur, it is a clear violation of Rule 56 and should be penalized as interference. At training camp in September, the referees were instructed to apply a strict standard with regard to interference of this nature once the puck was chipped past a defender. The mandate was put forward to allow attackers clean and legal access to pursue the loose puck and generate offence.
There are legal methods available for a defender to delay, contain, or even eliminate an attacker with contact through establishing proper "body position." Body position is determined as a player in front or beside an opponent, traveling in the same direction. A player is allowed the ice he is standing on (body position) and is not required to move in order to let an opponent proceed. A player may "block" the path of an opponent provided he is moving in the same direction. Moving laterally and without establishing body position, then making contact with the non-puck carrier is not permitted.
The key to legally detaining an attacking player who has chipped the puck past a defender is for that defender to immediately turn and skate in the same direction as the attacker. If executed properly, this considerably lengthens the distance his opponent must travel to get where he is going (to the puck). The defender must keep his feet moving in the same direction as the attacker and attempt to take the ice away as he moves forward.
from Slava Malamud of IIHF.com,
The first Russian (and only the second European) referee in the history of the NHL has gotten off to a great start and hopes more are coming in his wake.
This might not be quite the same kind of milestone as the one in the late 1980s, when the Iron Curtain broke in international hockey and Soviet players were first allowed to go over to the National Hockey League. That one was a milestone to end all milestones. But it was mainly a political breakthrough, as nobody in the 1980s had any doubt at the stars from the Big Red Machine could, given a chance, acquit themselves pretty well in the world’s best league.
This milestone, however, is of a different kind. One could argue that the barrier the Russian official Yevgeni Romasko is breaking, in a way, may be a harder one than the old Curtain. While the NHL has had a solid three decades’ worth of success by European players, Old World officials have found it so much more difficult to get the proverbial foot in the door. In fact, Romasko is only the second European referee in the league’s history and, of course, the first Russian, having begun his NHL career earlier this month at a game in Detroit between the Red Wings and the Edmonton Oilers. One can rest assured that the momentous nature of this occasion wasn’t lost on anyone, Romasko included.
“I was nervous to the extreme,” said the 33-year-old native of Tver, Russia. “It was a very important day in my life and in the history of Russian hockey. But the emotions were mostly positive ones, because the NHL created a celebratory atmosphere around it. The NHL officials, the teams, the players met me warmly, congratulated me. I have never experienced anything like this in my career.”
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
Ray Ferraro, the TSN hockey analyst, was prepping for a broadcast recently when the starkness of the change struck him.
“I’m looking at the game notes, copying down the number of power play goals teams have. And I’m like, ‘There aren’t many power play goals anymore,’ ” Ferraro said. “I’m thinking, ‘Didn’t teams used to have, like, a power play goal a game?’ ”
They did, indeed. As recently as 2005-06, the average NHL contest saw clubs combine for about two power play goals. But 10 seasons on from the post-lockout crackdown on obstruction, teams are combining for about half as many — 1.1 a game. The downturn in man-advantage offence can be attributed to a few things, the improvement of the league-average save percentage from .901 to .914 among them. But it’s largely the product of a gradual decline in the number of power-play opportunities being handed out by referees. This year, the teams are averaging just 3.1 power-play chances a game, the lowest number in at least 50 years according to hockey-reference.com.
Some see it as a sweet spot. In the bulk of a decade since the “new” NHL produced a freer-flowing version of the game — and with it an historic high of nearly 12 power-play opportunities per game in 2005-06 — the referees have used their whistles more sparingly. Some are happily applauding.
“I think every coach in this league appreciates how the games are being called right now,” Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues, was saying recently. “The referees are allowing us to play.”
from Tim Leone of PennLive,
He said he made the decision to retire following the 2013-14 season.
"I'm ready to go," Devorski said. "It's so fast out there now. Once I said I'm done, I realize that I am done. And I see the guys that are coming up and how fast and strong they are."
The final tour has been nostalgic and sentimental, filled with farewells to buildings and members of the NHL community.
"Going up to guys and coaches," Devorski said, "saying, 'Hey, I'm not going to see you again.'"
He said he had to stop Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville two weeks ago.
"He said, 'Hey, you know ...,'" Devorski said. "I said, 'Hey, I've still got you two more games. I'm not saying my good-byes yet.'"
Monday night's Edmonton at Detroit game marked his final contest involving Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock.
"There's a lot of good guys out there you want to say good-bye to," Devorski said. "There's a lot of good players. That part of it, yeah, it's kind of tough. But I'm kind of looking forward to the end."
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Romasko was so excited about his NHL debut, he couldn’t take a pregame nap. Devorski asked if he was going to sleep.
“No,” he said. “I read rule book.”
Joe Louis Arena was the perfect venue. The Red Wings were among the leaders in bringing over players from Russia. They had the Russian Five. They had the first Russian winner of the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player, Sergei Fedorov. Romasko’s first hockey coach used to tell the team he once had a young player named Vladimir Konstantinov.
Romasko dropped the first puck, with Russian star Pavel Datsyuk lined up for the draw. He called that first penalty – high-sticking on the Wings’ Marek Zidlicky. Then he called the second penalty – roughing on the Oilers’ Ryan Hamilton. Devorski reassured him, telling him those were the kinds of calls he had to make.
As the game went on, Devorski was impressed. Man, the guy could skate. He could sprint forward and glide backward effortlessly, keeping up with the play, finding angles to view the action.
“I’m watching him tonight like, ‘Oh, geez. No wonder I’m leaving’,” Devorski said.
from Martin Merk of IIHF.com,
Yevgeni Romasko called his last KHL game between Salavat Yulayev Ufa and SKA St. Petersburg (3-1) on 26th January, soon after his 33rd birthday.
Few knew then that it would be his farewell game in Russia, but a few days later Romasko was back to work in North America. In a few hours’ time, he is set to take to the ice in Detroit for a game between the Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers, an assignment that will make him the first Russian referee in history to call an NHL game.
It’s a historical milestone that’s been years in the making, but for Romasko, his journey to the NHL began when he landed in North America in late 2014, officiating a couple of AHL games in November and December before returning to Russia.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
After referee Brad Watson placed Crosby in the penalty box, a conference was initiated by the other Officials to share their different perspective on the play. As a result of the additional and accurate information provided by his colleagues, Watson correctly withdrew the penalty call. In the end, they arrived at the right decision....
Precedent has been set to reverse a penalty call when accurate information is provided through a conference of officials regardless of the perceived status of a player. In the end, the desire and objective of the officials is get the call right.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
The Vancouver Canucks weren’t very good at Rogers Arena Thursday night — but then neither was referee Chris Rooney.
You see, his ‘game management’ wasn’t very good, judging by what NHL referee Tim Peel has been saying when he chats with bloggers on the record.
According to Puck Daddy, Peel says that the NHL evidently tells it’s referees when certain penalties are appropriate and when they’re not. And while we are not privy to these ‘game management’ guidelines or whatever they might be called, we would assume that when the home team is down 2-0 late in the second period having had only two scoring chances in 38 minutes, calling an unsportsmanlike penalty on one of the most sportsmanlike captains in the history of the NHL from afar to put them down two men for a full two minutes wouldn’t be recommended.
What could Henrik Sedin possibly have said to bring about such a severe, game-impacting call? We’ll let your imagination run with it while you consider the ramifications of what Peel really said to Greg Wyshynski in a story that went largely unnoticed around the league. Instead, everyone got all excited about a picture of Peel with Wyshynski hoisting a drink which went viral, something the officials and media have done for years, albeit without the pictures and quotes.
While the NHL referee wasn’t quoted directly in the story other than the ‘game management’ reference, the pretty clear implication from the piece was that there are times in certain games when a penalty should be called, but not in others. You know, flexible rules depending upon who is winning and what the game situation is. No word on whether that ‘management’ stretches as far as which teams are playing but there are certainly no end of fans who might think it does....
“I was surprised he called it,” said Henrik, who indicated he didn’t think he had ever received an unsportsmanlike penalty in a similar situation in the past. “I used the “F” word but I’ve said a lot worse things to a referee than that. As I said, I was surprised.”
Watch the game highlights below...
from Sean Gentille of The Sporting News,
The Tim Peel "summit" apparently had a casualty: Tim Peel.
The NHL indefinitely suspended Peel, an official since 1999 and more recently an object of scorn over a series of high-profile blown calls, for meeting with Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski at a New York bar,according to a report by Montreal's 98.5 Sports. Wyshynski, Peel's loudest critic, wrote a nice piece that ran on the website, focusing on Peel's side of the story and what it's like to speak, face-to-face, with someone you rip as part of your job.
My only comment is when I saw the interview Wyshynski did with Peel, my first thought was the NHL is not going to like this.
added 9:27am, via Elliotte Friedman tweets,
1) Regarding reports NHL referee Tim Peel is indefinitely suspended because of @wyshynski interview, I'm told he is on "active status"...
2) and is therefore eligible to referee a game at any time. Peel did not work PIT/NJ as scheduled last Friday, but did work CAR/NYR Saturday
added 10:56am, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet with more on this...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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