Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Before the start of the regular season, the NHL said the instigator penalty would be called more vigilantly this season than in the recent past. So far, that hasn’t been the case.
Heading in to Tuesday’s games, an instigator penalty had been called in 8 of 117 fights. That’s one for every 14 fights or 6.8%. Although slightly higher than last season’s 5.9% rate, the calling of instigator penalties has declined significantly from the first two post-lockout seasons.
NHL officials were sent memos at the beginning of the season, reinforcing the importance of identifying instigators when the occasion calls for it. One of the most blatant circumstances is fights following clean hits. NHL Director of Officiating Terry Gregson says, “if a player seeks to hand out his own form of justice and his actions meet the criteria, it must be called.”
from Darren Eliot of Sports Illustrated,
Speaking of justice, no one has it tougher than the NHL officials when it comes to sorting and meting it out. The game is fast. The players are big. They now cluster and bunch together like never before. Maintaining clear sightlines is harder than ever—even with two sets of eyeballs. Yet, while taking all that into consideration, it seems to me that the referees are tolerating more contact away from the puck. Defensemen are sticking and pinning players on the boards once the puck has moved a beat or two longer than was the case when the league declared the new standard of enforcement in 2005-06.
In open ice, I’ve seen more moving and subtle picks than I can ever remember. The focus on such face-off infractions seems intact, but defensemen screening off for their partners, wingers taking a route to the boards that impedes a forechecker’s progress and proximity, picks at the blueline that open up lanes for zone entry, all appear to be more prevalent. Part of it is certainly coaches and players coming up with ways to be as successful as possible now that they’ve operated under these conditions for the past four seasons. Maybe it is just part of the natural cycle whereby it is now back on the officials to adjust to the adjustments made by the teams.
more plus other NHL topics…
On February 9, 2008, veteran NHL linesman Pat Dapuzzo suffered career-ending and life-altering injuries when he was accidentally struck in the face by the skate blade of Flyers forward Steve Downie during a game in Philadelphia against the Rangers. The damage to Dapuzzo’s face and head was far more serious than simply cosmetic.
In this exclusive for FanHouse, the 50-year-old Dapuzzo opens up for the first time about his memories of the incident, the countless surgeries, the deep depression, the support of the NHL community and his determination to live a normal life again. This is the story entirely in his own words, as told to Christopher Botta.
...When Steve Downie was checked by Fedor Tyutin and we became entangled along the boards, Downie’s leg whipped around and his skate blade cut my nose off. There was a hole in my face. I was on all fours and was bleeding badly. I thought I had lost my eye. Other than that, I don’t remember much about the immediate impact of the skate hitting my face. I was later diagnosed with a concussion from the collision, after they sent me to a trauma center in Camden, New Jersey.
read on at NHL Fanhouse…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Imagine the uproar if the Stanley Cup playoffs were officiated down to the level of the umpiring in major league baseball’s postseason. Imagine the outcry of, “The NHL wants the Rangers to win!” if the Blueshirts ever were beneficiaries of bad calls the way the Yankees (among others, to be sure) have been thus far.
Truth be told, NHL officiating seems improved over the early portion of the season. The referees seem to be allowing the game to breathe thus far. They seem to be operating under more of a common-sense approach as opposed to the coloring-by-numbers method that had overtaken the profession since the end of the lockout.
Maybe it’s as simple as Kerry Gregson replacing the micro-managing Stephen Walkom as the director of officiating. Maybe the referees are now less concerned about cronyism than they are with doing their jobs.
Then again, maybe it’s because Bill McCreary finally retired.
more hockey topics & Larry, I think Bill is still around.
Bill Chadwick, the longtime NHL referee and television analyst who earned the nickname “The Big Whistle” has died at age 94. MSG Network, for whom Chadwick served as an analyst for 14 years, reported his death during the second period of the New York Rangers’ game in Montreal on Saturday night.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
With the scored tied 2-2 just before the midway point of the third period, Predators defenseman Shea Weber was competing for a puck in his own end when he found himself face-to-face with referee Dennis LaRue.
Weber bowled over LaRue, but never could get to the puck, which wound up behind the Nashville net. Boston’s Daniel Paille shoveled a quick centering pass to Steve Begin, who knocked home the game-winner from the slot.
“He had nowhere to go and I had nowhere to go,’’ Weber said of LaRue. “It was a tough situation.’‘
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
Much is written about toughness in the NHL; the players who fearlessly drop in front of pucks, speed into corners to negate icings and drive to a well-guarded net to earn a scoring opportunity.
But it doesn’t end with just the players. Referees are also in harm’s way and there have been a few freak injuries that would make even the most courageous skater cringe.
“I got a puck in the face in 2002,” said linesman Steve Miller. “It broke my orbital bone and the nose at the top. That was my biggest injury; I spent three nights in a New Jersey hospital. The first night they got me stabilized; I was in a trauma unit. Then they did the surgery the next day and they put a plate with seven screws in my face – they put my face back together.”
continued with more unfortunate incidents…
from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,
Prior to Walkom’s term as director of officiating, all officials were given as many as 20 game assessments, written by supervisors attending their games over the course of a season, Warren’s lawyers said.
Since Walkom’s appointment to the director’s position, officials have been given only a mid-season performance review and, in some cases, an end-of-season review, according to officials interviewed by the Star and testimony in the hearing.
“It’s like they’re running a dictatorship where they don’t have to be accountable for their actions,” said Dave Newell, former NHL official and officiating supervisor until three years ago when he was fired by Walkom for reasons he said were never provided by the league.
During that time, he said his own assessments of Warren’s abilities were “99 per cent extremely positive.”
“I hate to see what they’re doing to him. I know, because they did it to me.”
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Two senior National Hockey League referees are divided on whether Dean Warren should have been fired by the league.
“I’ll be frank: he was horse shit,” said Paul Devorski, a 21-year referee who regularly works Stanley Cup Finals.
“Dean Warren is a good ref,” countered 30-year veteran Kerry Fraser, who has to a certain extent fallen out of favour with the NHL, having not been assigned a playoff game in several seasons.
Warren was fired by the NHL last year, and after an unsuccessful appeal through the NHL Officials’ Association has taken his cause to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. In hearings this week, Warren - an NHL referee from 1999-2007 - asserted that it was his involvement with the NHLOA that caused him to fall out of favour with the league.
from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,
The NHL removed senior official Dan Marouelli from playoff duties for the first time in memory last season as retribution for supporting colleague Dean Warren’s wrongful dismissal case against the league, Warren’s lawyer told a hearing on Tuesday.
In an intense exchange, lawyer Tom Curry alleged Stephen Walkom, the league’s director of officiating at the time, iced Marouelli out of playoff action for agreeing to testify in Warren’s Ontario Labour Relations Board hearing.
“When (Marouelli) phoned you and told you he was going to come here and assist Mr. Warren, you put him out of the playoffs,” Curry charged.
Walkom chaffed at the allegation.
“You’re questioning my integrity right now. That had nothing to do with it.”
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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