Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Brendan Shanahan sits back in his office chair and takes very little time to answer the question. Nearly midway through his second season as NHL chief disciplinarian, what has he learned the most?
"I don't think this is a job that can be done perfectly. It's only a job that you can aspire to do well," the NHL's senior vice-president of player safety said Thursday in an interview with ESPN.com.
Indeed, this job will never earn perfect marks. Not when you're dealing in the gray. There's no black and white in this gig.
But there is, Shanahan hopes people will realize, an attempt at developing a methodology that explains where he's coming from when doling out justice, or when he's not.
The real lessons are not just learned in the actual suspensions, but rather the knowledge gained from the 800-plus incidents -- small or big -- his player safety group reviewed last season.
Narration by Brendan Shanahan.
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
If the league looks at employment of a coach's challenge, there would be so many dynamics to consider.
How many challenges would a coach have in a game? Would a challenge be limited to certain types of plays? Would a failed challenge result in a penalty? Would a challenge be allowed in the closing minutes of a game? If so, coaches may use a challenge as a delay tactic to rest up his star players.
There is no harm with a trial and error period in the preseason in order to tinker with all these components. There is no harm in trying to get it right. But I'm not sure the NHL is ready for such an undertaking as a coach's challenge.
Kerry Fraser of TSN answers an email regarding those 'after the whistle' scrums which break out from time to time.
There are two ways a referee can handle the scrum issue effectively. The most obvious is as I suggested, call a penalty against the player that commits the face wash. The other less conventional method I employed was one night at the Bell Centre when a known 'rat' on the Montreal team entered a scrum with the full protection of the linesman. A former teammate of the 'rat' (and a pretty tough guy I might add) had been traded to the opposing team and became engaged with the Montreal player. The 'rat' quipped, trashed talked and threatened his former teammate from the safety the linesman provided him. I skated in and said to the 'rat' and within ear shot of everyone, "It looks to me like you really want a piece of that guy (his former teammate) and maybe you have a score to settle with him?" I turned to the linesman and said, "Do this guy a favour and let him go so he can take care of his own business!"
The opposing player's eyes lit up in delight and shouted to please let him go. The 'rat' wanted no part of it and hung onto the linesman's jersey. The scrum quickly ended without as much as a glove in the face.
My best answer in an effort to eliminate the 'chicken scratch' is the simple one Brian. Assess an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a glove in the face along with hair-pulling, biting, grabbing face mask, diving/embellishment and any other 'unmanly' act a player might commit. This will have a trickle-down effect to hopefully eliminate unbecoming conduct at all levels of the game, including Junior hockey. It just has to be added to the priority list!
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Here’s an idea I’ve heard that has some merit: Why not a third ref that watches the game from the press box with access to HD replay, etc.? He could review, on the spot, all the controversial calls and help reverse them in obvious cases like Backes and Desjardins, communicating directly to the refs just like the war room does on goal reviews.
The downside? It further slows down the game, which goal reviews already do as well.
But it’s something worth thinking about, in my opinion.
Another idea that’s already finding new life after being bandied about in years past is the merit of a "Coach’s Challenge," where a coach could challenge a penalty and ask for it to be reviewed. Two NHL head coaches reached out this week to me and suggested it’s time to renew that debate.
I don’t mind it, but prefer the first idea. My fear with the coach’s challenge is that coaches would want to challenge anything near the end of games out of desperation. The first idea involves a neutral person.
more hockey topics
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
- The referees are taking a beating after a rough weekend, but it's important to remember none of them worked during the lockout -- the second time in seven years that they refused to take anyone's job during a stoppage. The one thing they must start doing more of, though, is asking each other, "What did you see?" For example, take the Ottawa Senators' erased score in Montreal last Sunday. There was no conference -- and in a situation where the four officials are allowed to discuss it.
- Toronto Maple Leafs fans didn't like this one from Monday. I generally don't like that call, either. But every time I have this debate, someone points out that, after Clint Malarchuk and Richard Zednik, they don't want kicking motions around the unpredictability of the net. It's a legit argument.
- Last year, approximately 22 per cent of the NHL's goals were scored on the power play. This year, it's closer to one third. The Nashville Predators had the league's best power play in 2011-12 at 21.6 per cent success. It's early, but that number would be 13th right now.
more plus some Stepen Weiss talk...
from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,
While there is no official change to the goaltender interference rule, there is, however, a distinct change in inteference calls among skaters.
Players, particularly defencemen, have been left shaking their heads, trying to adapt to a new standard where they can’t get in the way of attacking forwards when they chip the puck behind them. On top of that, referees are also cracking down on players who are perceived to be “diving” in order to draw a penalty.
Gregson says that officials made a conscious decision in the summer to change the standard on both fronts.
“Officials need to be better at reacting to the play where there is a foul and then the player who is fouled embellishes. They were told at (summer) camp that we have to be stronger in the enforcement of this call.”
Senators players figure it will take some time for both them and the referees to figure out exactly how much interference will be tolerated. Alfredsson acknowledges the new rules make it tougher for defencemen to defend, but as time passes, he says players will discover the fine line between what’s fair and what’s a foul.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
As we move through the third week of the NHL season, there have been a number of incidents involving contact with the goalkeeper. Some resulted in penalties being assessed or goals disallowed, while in other cases the contact was deemed incidental and goals were allowed to stand.
I acknowledge, as most of you have, that this call can really be a tough one for any referee to correctly make given the speed and traffic jams that occur as players crash the net. I have harped on the fact that Referees' positioning and the resulting sightline gained is the overriding factor in making the correct judgment. In too many instances the Refs are not reading the play in advance and moving their feet to gain the best possible sightline. This is a "bread and butter" call for NHL Referees that can impact a game similarly to pass interference in the end zone of an NFL game or Super Bowl! There needs to be better instruction/accountability from the Officiating Department in this critical area before the shortened NHL season gets any shorter.
Let me provide you with my ruling on the two goalkeeper interference penalties that were called on Super Bowl Sunday in the Ottawa-Montreal game.
from Dave Lozo of NHL.com,
Ask a player, executive, fan or pundit about the NHL's instigator penalty and you're likely to receive a passionate opinion.
A form of the rule has existed as far back as 1937 -- "A Major penalty shall be imposed on any player who starts fisticuffs," the League's rule book read that year -- but it was before the start of the 1992-93 season that the instigator began changing and shaping the NHL that exists today.
"A player deemed to be the instigator of fisticuffs shall be assessed a Game Misconduct," became the official wording of the rule in 1992. It was most recently adjusted in 1996 to levy a two-minute minor, a five-minute major and a 10-minute misconduct to the guilty party. The rule was designed to curb fighting, which statistics show has steadily decreased during the past 20 years.
The instigator rule draws the ire of some players, the praise of others. It receives simultaneous credit for cleaning up the game and criticism for failing to allow players to police themselves.
But how can a rule that existed before Gordie Howe played his first NHL game get so much credit for both helping and hurting the game during the past 20 years?
Kerry Fraser of TSN discusses why the Mikael Backlund goal from Saturday nigh should not have been allowed.
Backlund was not pushed into Oiler goalkeeper, Devan Dubnyk by Ryan Smyth or any other Oiler teammate.Mikael Backlund followed the puck into the crease and crashed the net (and Dubnyk) though his own initiative. If that isn't enough reason for some to understand why this goal must be disallowed let me provide the technical reasons to support this call.
Rule 69.3 Contact Inside the Goal Crease - If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his crease and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.
More specifically, Mikael Backlund's actions on this play are best described by the bold type in Rule 69.6 Rebounds and Loose Pucks - In the event that a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck after making a stop the goal will be disallowed.
more and watch the goal below, All I know is these calls could go either way and as I wrote yesterday, replay should be allowed to make sure the call on the ice is the correct one.
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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