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January 28, 2006

All hail The New NHL

Observation: This is the worst possible season for the NHL to have instituted the automatic minor penalty for shooting the puck over one's defensive zone glass. The league has clearly given its referees a mandate to call whatever they please, no matter how ridiculous, at any time during the game, and it deliberately provided neither checks nor balances to keep it under control. If I'm too philistine to appreciate how this hasn't made things worse (to say nothing of making things better), then fine — I'll defer to the more cultured opinions.

The problem is, one of the chief characteristics of the Refs Can Do No Wrong school of officiating is the even-up call. They call one ridiculous penalty, and by definition the other team is owed an equally ridiculous call. Automatic, no-judgment-allowed calls like the puck-over-the-glass rule are the opposite of even-up calls — they take things completely out of the referees' hands.

So, in the first period of tonight's Leafs/Habs tilt, Saku Koivu ran afoul of an absurd cross-checking penalty. The referees were forced to call Sheldon Souray for accidentally shooting the puck over the glass, which gave the Leafs a two-man advantage. The Leafs scored. This is the very essence of the referees "deciding the game" (even though they had no choice on the second call). That's something philistines like me really, really hate. But hey, it's no big deal, right? It's not as if a rule like this could ever decide the Stanley Cup.

PS — Will Chris Zelkovich and William Houston point out Don Cherry's admiring (and revealing) montage of Jussi "Shootout" Jokinen's goals in their weekly roundups of how much smarter they are than everyone on television?

Posted by Chris Selley at January 28, 2006 08:25 PM

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» Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind from Off Wing Opinion
Chris Shelley is wondering why: So, in the first period of tonight's Leafs/Habs tilt, Saku Koivu ran afoul of an... [Read More]

Tracked on January 31, 2006 06:38 PM

» Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind from Off Wing Opinion
Chris Shelley is wondering why: So, in the first period of tonight's Leafs/Habs tilt, Saku Koivu ran afoul of an... [Read More]

Tracked on January 31, 2006 10:19 PM

Comments

That same Mtl-Toronto game had a few other weird things, from my biased perspective as a Mtl fan: Toronto's third and tying goal (which earned To a point) occured after Higgins was tripped while waiting for the puck to get to him to clear the zone, 2-Bulis was called for a tripping penalty when some guy behind him tripped clumsily over his stick, thereby eliminating a Canadiens' odd man rush and 3-the game winning goal scored by Kovalev was the result of what was clearly a penalty from the start but the announcer seemed in denial about the hold, muttering some nonsense about 'it was only a hold after he got behind the net.'

Anyway, both teams were pretty awful that night, so perhaps that made the game harder to call.

Posted by: just at January 31, 2006 03:36 PM