Saturday, March 3, 2007

In Other New NHL News...

- Donald Brashear has a reputation and NHL referees are not afraid to make calls based on it.

Thursday night, Brashear was whistled for a tripping call when replays showed his stick was at least four feet away from a Lightning player's skates when he fell.

This Saturday night, Brashear was whistled for roughing for a shove to the chest of Islander Brendan Witt. Brashear was promptly slapped with another minor misconduct for having too much to say to referee Rob Shick.

Both of these calls are indicative of the direction the NHL would like its game to go in. A Hockey Night commentator mentioned earlier this evening that expansion to Europe could be conceiveable in five years. I'd argue we are already there with the way the game is played and refereed these days.

- Cam Janssen was hit a three game suspension from the league for his hit on Tomas Kaberle. I must be starting to think like Colin Campbell these days because I called three games earlier today... scary. Let's face it, Janssen's hit was late. I also think the damage done should not be a factor in the way suspensions are given. I don't think it was in this case.

Campbell's one-liner... "Supplemental discipline is appropriate for this incident because of the lateness of the hit," said NHL senior executive vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell.

I must also note that my request for a suspension to the other four Leafs on the ice at the time of the hit was denied by the league. I was thinking a minimum of ten games for not sticking up for their fallen teammate.

- Yet another pro-fighting article... this time from SLAM Sports. A couple hard hitting quotes:

"You ask the skill players and almost to a man they want to eliminate the instigator rule completely," said Marty McSorley, who had a big hand in keeping the Edmonton Oilers safe and secure on their way to Stanley Cup titles in 1987 and 1988.

"The enforcers don't bother them, they look after them, and the instigator penalty makes that harder to do."

"It's a big necessity. It's imperative," said McSorley. "You can't have third-line players going on the ice to try and bring Sidney Crosby's talent level down. Your great players can't get beat up for 82 games. You just can't let it happen.

"I know that's what the new rules are supposed to do, but let's not kid ourselves - the rules can't govern the game totally."

Not when one of the most dangerous elements in the NHL today, one that's sent more players to
the infirmary than anything else, is the perfectly legal hit.

And many of them, thanks to the instigator rule and a post-lockout decline in enforcers, spend entire shifts ignoring the puck and hitting to hurt.

Now, teams are scraping players off the ice every week, and there is nothing the league can do about it. It's pale consolation when you lose someone to a legal head shot instead of a cheap shot.

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