Monday, February 19, 2007

Instigator Penalty a Major Topic on Day One of GM Meetings

To piggyback the news that the instigator rule would be on the agenda at the GM meetings, TSN has followed up with an update saying the instigator discussion dominated the first day of the GM meetings.

According to the article, Ducks' GM Brian Burke introduced the topic. His focus was primarily on the number of instigators one should have before being suspended. That currently stands at three before a two game suspension is levied by the league. Burke said that should be raised to five or six to let enforcers effectively perform their jobs.

"So the question is, when a guy is at two instigator penalties, does it affect him to say, `I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to protect my guy. I'm not going to protect my goalie because I'm going to be suspended.' That was really the debate today," said Columbus Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean.

Here are the next steps and roadblocks...

If the GMs vote to loosen up the rule Wednesday, it would then have to be discussed by the NHL competition committee (players and GMs) and then finally get the approval of the board of governors (owners).

Not all GMs are in favour of changing the instigator.

"I'm not against the way it is right now," said Ottawa Senators GM John Muckler.

That certainly is surprising considering Muckler has a full time heavyweight enforcer in Brian McGratton. Chris Neil isn't too far behind in that category either.


Ferguson worries about the bad optics for the NHL if the instigator penalty was loosened, the perception that the league was encouraging more fighting.

And you don't get to control that end of it. because perception comes from the person who's viewing it and I do think it'd be tough," he said. "We'd potentially be leaving ourselves open to that type of criticism."

This from a man that watched his father make a nice living as a tough guy in the NHL. As a matter of fact, John Ferguson Sr. is often referred to as the first enforcer in the NHL.

The bottom line is this. The NHL has a choice to make... side with yuppie liberal media outlets that will form what is believed to be a mainsteam perception but is not. Or side with hockey fans, the fans that pay the salaries of the players, the GMs, and the commissioner of this league... the same fans that say they want the instigator gone for good. Forget modified, 81% of fans have spoken and said they want it completely abolished.

1 comment:

Fauxrumors said...

1) It would be great if the NHL really did something about this silly rule, but even the Burke idea is a minor change
2) We want to see the elimination of the instigator penalty entirely! If not that, then to at least eliminate the 'last 5 minutes' rule that allows cheap shots without fear of retaliation at the end of games