It's Monday and you know what that means. BrowntoBure are back with another edition of Monday Meltdown.
As you well know, this past weekend was Daylight Savings, where we all set our clocks forward an hour. Unfortunately it seems the NHL lost this message somewhere in translation as they've set the clock back, all the way to the year 2003, the height up the "Dead Puck Era". As of last week the NHL and its' astute officiating crews had called approximately 350 less obstruction related penalties than the previous season. Is this just a coincidence, or a league mandate?
One could make that the argument that after years of an average of 3 to 5 power plays a night, that in the middle of the season, the players have finally figured it out. That person would be an idiot. If you were to watch any game around the league right now you would see that not only is this not the case, but there are arguably more infractions being committed on a game to game basis that just simple are not being called.
Coming out of the 04-05 lockout that was supposed to be the end of the "Dead Puck Era” the game started to shift, back to that of fast paced, offensive hockey. Subsequently, teams like the Vancouver Canucks and the Buffalo Sabres, to name a few began building their teams accordingly.
Henrik Sedin, captain and number one centre of the Vancouver Canucks and man of few words generally, appears to have finally had enough.
"This might be the only sport where the rules change throughout the season, depending who you are and who you are playing"
I think we can all agree with that statement there, and even accept it. As it's been widely known since the beginning of the NHL, that there is a completely different set of rules come playoff time. Just ask the Boston Bruins, they not only took advantage of that knowledge, they rode it all the way to a Stanley Cup. Apparently some teams missed the memo. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that their owner, Jeremy Jacobs just so happens to be the head of the Board of Governors for the NHL. Just like I'm sure it's just a coincidence that teams such as the St.Louis Blues, who are almost completely defunct of offense began their miraculous climb up the standings all the way to first place overall, about the same time power play’s began to drop league wide. Let us not forget about the small market teams such as Nashville and Dallas who also play a very defensive style, they are also currently sitting in playoff positions, as are the New York Rangers, where's head office again? And the Phoenix Coyotes, who owns them again?
At the same time as all these teams are climbing the standings the Vancouver Canucks, highest scoring team in the NHL and for over a span of a year and a half, the number one power play in the NHL seem to be in free fall mode. The main cause of which is the constant abuse of the back-to-back Art Ross trophy winners, Daniel and Henrik Sedin are currently in a scoring drought of one point between the two of them in the last 8 games.
Sorry Canucks, you did a great job building your team to succeed in the "new NHL” but it's time to throw that blueprint right out the window, Gary and the boys have another agenda.
Now is this just all one big remarkably large string of coincidences, or is the league going out of it's way to decrease the amount of penalties being called to boost the chances of some of these teams previously mentioned? Or could it be as simple as the "anything goes" way of calling the NHL playoffs has just started far earlier this year?
Another thing that crossed my mind the other day is that this being the final year of the NHL and NHLPA's collective bargaining agreement, could the NHL already be starting to posture with something that they know the players are going to want to have dealt with when the meetings begin in the summer? I for one would not put it passed them.
Whatever the case, as fans we were told coming out of the last lockout, the days of "clutch and grab" hockey were over. I cannot count the number of times over the past few months where I have been watching a game and thought to myself "How the hell is that not a penalty"
Now I'm all for tough hockey, but when a certain league wide standard has been repeatedly driven down your throat for years, shouldn't you expect it to stay constant... Or at the very least improve? All I see is digression, very rapidly at that. As this season comes to a close we're headed right back to that much-maligned "Dead Puck Era" that we thought we were done with. The Players, coaches, owners, etcetera will all still get their money, but once again, it's us the fans who are suffering. I don't like it, not one bit.
See you next Monday.
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