Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 06/09/13 at 05:15 AM ET
The CBC's Hotstove Tonight gang stated the obvious regarding Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma on Saturday night--if he is fired, he'll be able to " write his own ticket" to Dallas, Vancouver, or the bright lights of New York. The New York Post's Larry Brooks reports that Mario Lemieux might pull the plug on Bylsma (and Marc-Andre Fleury), he reveals that Ryane Clowe may or may not have played his way through three concussions during the regular season and playoffs, and he says that Marek Zidlicky may replace Mark Streit on Long Island as the outgoing captain looks for a $6 million payday...
But I'm subbing for the boss on what is either a late night or early morning, and as this is more than a slight pet peeve of mine, I'm going to let you read Brooks' scoops on your own and offer his take on the grab-and-grope-fest that's become the 2013 playoffs instead:
Look, the Bruins are a very good, very tough and extremely strong-willed group that has used the NHL’s vanishing standards of officiating to their benefit. And why wouldn’t they?
The playoffs in both conferences have been dominated by the holding, hooking, and off-the-puck fouling the league once vowed to eradicate, but now accepts as a matter of unstated policy, with the amount of legal interference increasing incrementally by the round.
Perhaps there is a phone call or a memo from Gary Bettman to Colin Campbell on the subject the NSA might be able to provide us with.
It’s mind-numbing, the volume of 1-0, 2-0 and 2-1 games. In 2003 and 2004, the two years before Owners’ Lockout II produced new-era rules to open up the game in conjunction with the imposition of the hard salary cap, there were a total of 40 games in which the winning team scored two goals or fewer.
Over the last two years, through Friday night, there have been 45 games in which the winning team failed to score as many as three goals, and, no, not all of them involved the Rangers.
Yes, it is true, you can have a truly great 2-1 game, as was Game 7 of the Rangers-Devils epochal 1994 Eastern finals. But not 45 of them, not when they’re played every night, not when there is no space on the ice and no time in which to use it, not when no one can score.
There have been moments of high drama, but few instances of sustained interest. And too many botched calls to believe they’re primarily a matter of omission rather than an issue of policy.
Yup. And we all know that, come next October, the officials will have been instructed to call any hook, hold, tug, push, punch and/or dirty look and/or impure thought...And it will all degenerate as the holiday season approaches, there will be a renewed interest in calling penalties either immediately before or immediately after the Olympics (no All-Star Game next season unless something goes horribly wrong in Olympic negotiations between the NHL, the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee), and come playoff time, they'll call stuff for the first half of the first round...
Until, slowly but surely, teams that can check their opponents to death will benefit more and more from a "let 'em play, even if it's rugby on ice" philosophy that is sure to once again dominate playoff discussion a year from now--mostly because the only way goals happen these days involve either catastrophic breakdowns in defensive coverage or blatant penalties that are let be.
Brooks continues, addressing the aforementioned topics.
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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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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