Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Another Think Tank?

It was announced on Monday that a number of league executives and hockey people were getting together to review and possibly suggest changes to current standards for calls regarding interference, hooking, and holding. While I certainly welcome the idea of enforcing penalties a little tighter again, I'm a little annoyed that all of these hockey minds are looking at bettering the game when the people who are in charge of the game can't agree on how to keep the game going. Hooking and holding matters little when the owners and players can't agree on how to keep the harmony in the CBA negotiations.

The NHL's senior vice-president of hockey operations, Colin Campbell, met with a number of hockey people yesterday and today to review how interference, hooking, and holding infractions were being called. Among those in attendance with Campbell include Darcy Regier, Lou Lamoriello, Ray Shero, Steve Yzerman, Mike Gillis, Joel Quenneville, Barry Trotz, Dave Tippett, and Adam Oates as well as players, officials, and other members of the hockey operations department. Clearly, this is a collection of personalities from all facets of the NHL, and all will have some input as to how the league deals with adjusting the standard in making the calls for the infractions.

"Personally, I don't think the hooking and holding has slipped," Campbell told the media. "I think we have to find out what we want with interference on the forechecking and interference off the face-off."

Anything to help the game stay exciting is definitely good, but this isn't a think tank like they had in 2004-05 when the rules dramatically changed. Instead, it appears this think tank will simply ensure the standard is being upheld, and to tweak minor instances where some of the infractions are going unpunished.

"There's lots of opinions out there," Campbell stated, "so I'd like to see us sit down and just get that opinion from particularly the three groups that are dealing with it all the time: the referees, the players and the coaches."

If this group of people can make the game better, I say go for it. There's nothing worse than seeing a clutch-and-grab game again, especially when the stakes are high in the playoffs and the "little things" go uncalled for the most part. While players, coaches, and managers certainly don't want to see an outbreak of power plays again, there needs to be a more consistent calling of interference.

As Campbell said, "Anything that stops a player from scoring" should be reviewed in terms of making the game better. Scoring is exciting. Clutching and grabbing is not. Let's hope these men can make the game a little better over these two days.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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