Problems and Solutions Part 2

As mentioned in my previous article, the referees in the NHL have been anything but stellar. What I like to call “quick-fix” rule changes (interference crack-down, bigger crease, moving blue lines ect) have created confusion and inconsistency amongst the officials. The last two seasons, the NHL has put a minimal effort forth, to try and cut back on the clutching, grabbing and interference that nearly choked the league out during the 1990’s. At the start of the 2002-2003 season, watching the NHL was amazing. Games were fast paced, with end-to-end action. Very entertaining. However, the conistency failed to translate over the course of the entire season. By the time the playoff races came around, the league was back to clutch and grab hockey. For the players, this must be a very frustrating environment to play in. From a fan’s standpoint, it is more dissapointing to see the decline, than anything.
It is time for the NHL to evolutionalize itself. Hockey does have a very glorified tradition, especially at the NHL level, but things have changed. The competition is higher, the players are bigger, the shots are harder, the game has become more elite. That is why the NHL needs to revamp it’s rulebook, and create a standard protocol for all it’s officials. A document that can be distributed to all 30 NHL clubs, to create understanding and unity around the entire league.

The NHL Rulebook does not need to be thrown out the window, but rather, it needs to be evaluated, negotiated, and retranslated so that it fits today’s game more affectively. It needs to be done to ensure consistent officiating, as well as increase the level of entertainment for the fans.

Did you know that the fine for a high sticking penalty that injures another player in the face, is $100. For a player making $1,000,000 a season, that is peanuts. A mere joke! Want more? A major penalty, that being of the nature of clipping, checking from behind, spearing, butt-ending ect, a whopping $200 fine is to be issued to the offender. (

The NHL cries out, not understanding why they cannot control their league, I am telling you right here and now, they don’t take this seriously enough. If they did, they would realize that a $100 fine is neither logical, nor impactul to any NHL player. The NHL needs to stop trying to hold themselves accountable for their players, and start putting the pressure on them. It all starts with how you treat them when they do break the rules. Some thoughts I have are:

The penalized player should have to serve the full time of his penalty. If the penalized player’s team is scored on, during his penalty, he should still have to sit out the remainder of his penalty. Missing ice-time has never been big on any players’ list of priorities, neither has more PK time been for coaches. This would also create more PP time for teams, wich would hopefully increase the number of goals scored/game, thus increasing the level of entertainment of the NHL’s product.

The “crack-down” that started last season, should be diligently enforced. Interference calls are killing the game, plain and simple. Add to the 2 minute minor, a $2500 fine for each infraction. Two interference related penalites in a game, would also lead to a 10 minute game misconduct, and an added $5000 fine. The NHL’s “attempt” to fix this problem last season started well but fizzled out by the All-Star game. This area needs to be enforced more than any other, for the betterment of the game.

Martin St. Louis, Ray Whitney, Sergei Samsonov, Paul Kariya and more, all have the ability to carry the NHL with their talents. When the NHL was cracking down on the clutching and grabbing, these smaller players shone. St. Louis and Whitney both notched career highs in points, coincidence, I think not.

The rules of the NHL need to be brought up to speed, to fit today’s game, and the refs need to understand the importance of carrying out a new system to ensure the success of the league. The rulebook needs to be the same for each club. There also needs to be a code of conduct put into place, documented, for the officials, players and coaches alike, so that the league has something to fall back on, when they go to discipline or correct certain behaviour.

I guess what I am trying to get at is, the NHL has no unity between the front office, the owners, the refs and the players. Everybody seems to be out for #1; it is that selfish attitude that has been, and will continue to be cause for many of the problems that the NHL has to deal with.


12 Responses to Problems and Solutions Part 2

  1. DG says:

    “The penalized player should have to serve the full time of his penalty. If the penalized player’s team is scored on, during his penalty, he should still have to sit out the remainder of his penalty.”

    Something shot to mind while reading this: what if, instead of having players serve two minutes regardless, a power play goal ADDS two minutes to the penalty.

    It’s a shot in the dark, but I thought I’d just throw it in there.


  2. beefer says:

    If they would just call the games as the rules are written, interference would be greatly reduced. That is a big IF though. I also think that when a player is fined, it should be proportionate to that player’s salary. A player making $8 mil/yr getting fined the same as one making $500G/yr doesn’t seem quite right. I doubt the fine would be much of a deterrent for the multi-millionaire. Although I think the maximum fine is now at $1000 and that won’t do much damage to either players’ wallets.

  3. baw1961 says:

    Great Article -MJ- ! I totally agree. The biggest problem with NHL officiating today is a lack of consistency. If all the refs called the games the same way for the ENTIRE season, then maybe some progress could be made to eliminate clutching and grabbing. As it is now, the players just behave for a little while, waiting until the refs let lazy and stop calling interference so they can return to their old ways.

  4. cheeze says:

    Great Article!!! For once, a posting that is worth something!

    I totally agree 100% with the view on officiating. It is the lack of consistancy that breeds the lack of respect the players have for the referees, other players and in a sense – the entire game.

    Other sports such as pro rugby, soccer are examples of how officials are the law ( with minor whiny disagreements). The flow of the games and the respect the players have for the rules and one another are evident and tend to create a higher standard of sportsmanship. A game as violent as rugby serves as a perfect model.

    The idea that fines need to be increased to reflect the players earnings is ” right on”. The idea of serving the full time given for a penalty regardless of goals scored by the opposing team on the power play is something that has been tossed about for some time and I believe would satisfy the need for shoring up dirty tactics in the average game. There are no real deterrents in the game right now.

    The league is hell bent on providing a quality product, yet the actions they impose to do so tend to contradict that in favour of what the almighty $ dictates. I just don’t get it. A disgrace.

  5. Gforce says:

    Great article,where you say that the NHL should get after it’s players, the Fans should get after the NHL.Your closing was great how all are out for #1.Do you think that Wayne Gretzkyand Mario Lemuiex had something to do with last years all star game Cause we all Know the Dan Heatly should have the NHL Record for Most goals in an allstar game,2.The goalie come out of the crease He’s Far game.3.Tie Domi should be able to bound the piss out of a guy taking a run at Belfour and get nothing more than a 5 minute Major.Other than complaining about the NHL and what Bettman Has the power to change and doesn’t,he’s trying to make it the closest thing to basketball as he can. .We should look forward to the WHA

  6. habsoverserver says:

    The NHL can’t legislate how teams play. When trappng wins a cup, every team traps. If a fast team won the Cup every team would try to get faster. It comes and goes in cycles. But the league should let players and coaches do what they want.

    Players and their equipment are bigger, ice surfaces are smaller and there is less ice space infront of the net. The result is more contact. Adding rule books isn’t going to make more room out there.

    Unless you want either smaller players, less protective equipment or you expect owners to give up selling front row seats to give a little more room in the corners, there is nothing to do. Perhaps the leauge will move the nets further back. Hockey will adjust. It always does.

    As far as your clutch and grab theory. It is not borne out by the facts. Whintey had 50 points in 52 games pre All Star game and 26 points in 29 games post All Star game. Kariya had 50 points in 51 games pre All Star game and 31 points in 31 games post All Star game. St. Louis did slow in the second half from 52 points in 52 games to 18 points in 30 games. Samsonov only played eight games. Even though the clutch and grab came back, it didn’t change their performance.

    The owners, players and league are not the morons you make them out to be. Owners are successful corporations or business people. Players are skilled professionals and the head office is very experienced. Maybe the refs are not what you want them to be. But give everyone some credit. These are not problems that can be solved by a couple fans on web sites.

  7. OoRaven says:

    Good concept but let’s take that a step further.. What if they just inside of putting a straight forward number, throw a percentage at them.. You make $11,000,000 a year and get tossed a 2% fine your looking at a $220,000 dollar fine.. Which is a pretty big hit so they could lower the percentage to something around the lines of 1.2% or 0.9% which will still hit some people pretty hard.. Even at a percentage of .05 with a $11,000,000/year contract you still get hit for $55,000 which still might be in the extreme (this being if the calculator didn’t try to screw me) My point just being like it was posted before $1,000 to a player make high cash is nothing and they just laugh at it. But I also think this might work alot better than set number..

  8. Kashin says:

    The diving rule is good and there should be a suspension for big hits IE: Hatcher, Roenick. But not for every little aspect. A suspension hits a player more then a fine.

  9. still_fly72 says:

    I blame the 2 referee system. You can have one ref calling a discipline game and the other calling a wide open one, so no matter which way you try to play your team will probably end up being screwed over on a few calls and that can eventually lead to being screwed on a few goals.

  10. Megaroset says:

    excellent article. I agree 100%. Another thing I would like to see called is unsportsmanlike. When a player gets a penalty and swears at the ref and screams at him, he should recieve another 2 minute minor. There are children watching these games also and that is no way to act. The refs need to call the game the way it should be called, but the players should also be held responsible. I know it’s human nature to try and get away with what you can, but we need to play the game by the rules, follow the rules, and enforce the rules that are already in place. That alone would solve a ton of the games problems.

  11. tj_hooker says:

    Assessing fines in addition to penalties in order to minimize sloppy play seems both excessive and unnecessary. If a player is guilty of committing avoidable penalties night in and night out, he’ll likely find himself playing either in the minors or with another team. Don’t you think that’s deterrent enough? I also disagree (although less so) with assessing fines to players for malicious play. Financial retribution for such tactics is a tedious and lackluster substitute for the pleasingly brutish and expidient judicial process that is, conveniently, already in place. Goons (God love ‘em) have been promoting decency and humanity in the NHL for years. Do you really want to deviate from tradition by cudgeling chippy players with a financial shillelagh or leave the dispensation of justice in the capable hands (or fists) of our under-appreciated enforcers? I, for one, am for the latter.

  12. defenestrate says:

    Has your younger brother been using your screen name the last two days?

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