Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Stevenson at the Toronto Sun,
The NHL's general managers will gather for their spring meeting Wednesday in Toronto and the burning topic right now seems to be officiating.
"I got a call asking me if there was anything I wanted to put on the agenda and I said, 'Officiating,'" said one GM, "and I was told another GM had already tabled 37 items to do with officiating."
Maybe he was joking.
Fact is, there are a lot of general managers upset with the consistency of the officiating this season and the number of missed offside calls, some that have have resulted in goals.
Another hot topic is the number of times players are getting thrown out of the faceoff circle.
continued plus numerous other hockey points...
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
What if we reanimated the gross misconduct and called it on players for partaking in a staged fight?
After floating this idea out on Twitter, most of the feedback was that the grey area between what is and isn’t a staged fight would be too blurry for the rule to function. On the contrary, every rule in the book has a grey area and it’s the job of the referees to decipher a ruling. This is why, in Section 6 of the NHL Rulebook under “Physical Fouls,” minor, major and match penalties all have the preamble, “The Referee, at his discretion, may assess…”
A gross misconduct brings an immediate ejection and review from the commissioner’s office. While you wouldn’t necessarily have to hand out a suspension for each infraction called (although you could set that standard, too), you would certainly sit a guy down after his second or third. The idea is this would start to eliminate cheesy fights 30 seconds into a game or immediately after a faceoff. We generally know a staged tilt when we see it.
Would players find a way around this? Absolutely – they always do. Maybe they bump each other a few times around the rink and in the corner to make it appear less orchestrated. That’s not perfect, but at least the optics are more palatable. And you have to ask yourself: at what point is it not worth the effort to have a marginal player on the roster who takes up ice time to go through these back-door exercises to accomplish a fight?
“Of course some refs don’t like some personalities on our team, but anyway, you have to respect us. We’re emotional, we’re in the game. When we say something bad to linesmen or bad to referees, we can’t give them two minutes when they yell at me or they yell at coaches or yell somebody. It’s kind of position when they have to give us a break.
“If we’re over [the] top of our yelling or screaming, yeah, of course you have to give us two or five or 10, it’s their call. Not like if we say one word to them like you’re gonna get two minutes right away….I think the league and the [NHLPA] have to look at it and make a changes.”
-Alex Ovechkin on the Washington Capitals. More on the lack of respect issue from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
Many warriors still play the game and deserve our utmost respect and admiration. Sadly, there is a growing list of 'fakers' that modestly endure any embarrassment associated with being recognized as a member in 'poor standing' of the Divers Club. Their ultimate reward for their dishonesty and cowardice is a power play. Embellishment is redefining the actions of our modern day player who "takes one for the team."
You are probably wondering why the referees don't just call a stand alone penalty on the embellisher. The fact is that most often a legitimate foul has been committed which the referee first identifies by raising his arm. At this point, the initial infraction must be assessed regardless of any subsequent embellishment by the player fouled. Should embellishment subsequently result, it is then appropriate for the referee to assess penalties to each player. On very rare occasions, a player will dive without being fouled and is assessed a stand alone diving penalty.
When an initial foul has been identified by the referee, and even though the penalty assessed for embellishment eliminates what would have been a power play for the 'divers' team, I would much rather see a rule change to make diving a double minor penalty similar to high sticking where an injury results.
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
Patrick Kaleta ought to be locked up. Brendan Shanahan has gone soft on crime. The Montreal Canadiens are all divers. National Hockey League referees are rabbit-eared politicians.
It is Monday as we write this, and there is so much umbrage in the air, it makes us want to go back to bed and pull the covers over our heads. Except that, you know, it's almost all justified.
Reading from left to right:
*** Kaleta, the 26-year-old Buffalo Sabres winger, is building the kind of resume that would bring a flush of pride to the cheeks of Matt Cooke and Raffi Torres, whose co-authored Villainy 101 course Kaleta took by correspondence and evidently passed with flying colours.
He hasn't taken the 200-level followup course yet -- Image Management: how to morph from notorious headhunter to one who has seen the light, found God, repented, and in all other ways became a model citizen -- but perhaps it got stuck in the mail.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
One thing this shortened NHL season has given us in abundance is the fine art of the whine.
Nary a night passes that we don't hear rumblings and grumblings from a coach, general manager, player or the media covering a game about one or more (perceived) odious calls from the on-ice officials.
Wednesday night it was Detroit carping about non-calls in Los Angeles after a 2-1 loss to the Kings, while there were complaints in Toronto about a major checking from behind call assessed to Leafs forward Mike Brown.
Indeed, it's a rare night we don't hear some boo-hooing from some corner of the NHL world about calls made or not made.
Truly, is there anything more tiresome than someone complaining about the work done on the ice, especially given that invariably that complaint emanates from a team that ended up losing a game or a point in the standings?
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!
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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