Dang Zebras, Drop The Puck!

Monday, 03.05.2012 / 2:24 PM
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Razor With An Edge Blog
Dang Zebras, Drop The Puck!

Here comes the Razorboy compliment sandwich.

I have great admiration for what the men in stripes do on a day in and day out basis in the NHL. It's the world's fastest game played by a collection of whiners - or more delicately put, lobbyists - with Big Brother second guessing/exposing the officials every decision. They travel like Gypsies, a lot of the time making their way to the next assignment day of game, and when they arrive their workplace environment is both dangerous and hostile.

They are good men, these NHL referees and linesmen.

That said, I am at wits end from trying to understand what the standards are for penalties and why the pool of linesmen have taken it upon themselves to hold the game hostage every time a puck needs to be dropped to resume play.

I know that players have adjusted to the "new rules" (lord, it was 7 years ago that they were introduced) and I actually prefer to watch/broadcast games that are officiated by refs who "manage the game" and/or "let them play" a little when the games are on the line - that's hockey. But at the same time, a lot of what we have come to expect to be a penalty doesn't seem to be - at least not consistently.

Regarding the face-offs, it's the constant haggling and dismissing and delaying on what are supposed to be "hurry-up face-offs" (instituted in 2002) that seems to have reached ludicrous stage and is trying patience. Its like a lot of linesmen have contracted some sort of God-complex. Just drop the puck. Oh sure, be a bit more stern with draws in the attacking zone, but please, please, in the neutral zone and especially on the logo at center-ice just drop the puck.

A few years back they would drop it even if a team's center weren't there yet. When was the last time you saw that? As well, it appears they've stopped even threatening to kick the replacement out of the face-off and assessing the 2 minute penalty that goes along with that mythical infraction.

In soccer the throw-ins are conducted with fluidity, as are handballs at mid-field. Just get the game going again seems to be their goal. It should be ours too. Wasn't that the point?

In basketball, throw-ins are rather immediate and it's the players, not the officials, who slow up the free throws. (All you ballers out there, stop with the touch-hands time waster after every attempt. Just stop it.)

My suggestion to hockey would be to have both players put their sticks down on the dot at the same time and leave them there in preparation for the puck drop. Currently the road team's player has to put his down first. This rule does two unnecessary things: It allows the home player to have an advantage, which makes no sense to me. Why does he deserve an advantage? And, it fuels the jockeying and jawing that ultimately leads to all the delays.

This current state of on-ice arbiting seems fixable; Especially considering all the good, hard-working guys the NHL has on its officiating crews. They are prepared. They have impeccable integrity. And their bosses, I do believe, hold them accountable.

All that's needed is a hard reassessment of how they are governing these games and the fifty some odd face-offs that each contest houses.

To me it's either re-rack, or redefine.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 74 44 24 6 209 172 94
5 MIN 75 43 25 7 215 185 93
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 75 40 28 7 219 199 87
10 DAL 75 36 29 10 232 240 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 75 22 40 13 181 254 57
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54

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2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 75 27 44 -6 71
T. Seguin 65 33 34 -3 67
J. Spezza 75 16 40 -4 56
J. Klingberg 58 10 27 5 37
C. Eakin 71 17 17 -4 34
A. Goligoski 75 4 30 -1 34
T. Daley 61 16 17 -10 33
A. Hemsky 69 11 21 -7 32
S. Horcoff 71 11 17 7 28
V. Fiddler 73 12 14 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 33 15 10 .907 2.84
J. Enroth 14 26 2 .900 3.28
 
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