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Fedotenko: Want more scoring? Call more penalties

May 15, 2012, 2:50 PM EDT

Ruslan Fedotenko Getty Images

Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko knew he had to be careful choosing his words yesterday, but he did suggest – carefully – that the officiating could be stricter if the NHL wanted more scoring.

“I feel — this is just my opinion — if you want to add more scoring, if they call penalties more like they did in the beginning of the season, they get more scoring,” he said, as per the National Post. “Every season they start so high, and make the rules this way, and then they slow, slow, and [it’s changed] in the playoffs.”

The league denies officiating standards have changed, but Fedotenko’s opinion is shared by many.

In February, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik provided one example.

“After the (2004-05) lockout, if a guy chipped a puck by you, you couldn’t touch him,” he said. “If you did, it was a penalty every single time. You just had to turn and go get it.”

Observations like Orpik’s led many to believe the NHL stopped calling obstruction so closely in order to slow the game down and reduce injuries, specifically concussions.

“(The NHL) didn’t tell us they were going to go easy on us (defensemen),” Orpik said. “But it’s pretty obvious that it has changed.”

And that was during the regular season. Now we’re into the playoffs, where putting the whistles away is a tradition. No referee wants to be the one who makes a soft call that ends up deciding a game. An NBA official, on the other hand, calls so many fouls during the course of a game that one call is less likely to have a big impact.

However, if the NHL does want more offense, calling the game tighter would achieve that goal. If players continue to break the rules, there will be more power plays. If they obey the rules, it’ll make defending harder.

  1. lonespeed - May 15, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    I agree.

    I see interference go uncalled a lot in the playoffs. This was also true later in the year.

    The refs call obvious penalties, like high sticks (blood involved), goalie interference, and delay of game. They are generous about calling boarding, hooking, and tripping unless it is obvious.

    Interference? I see players dump the puck at the blue line and the defense continues to ride them into the offensive zone long after the puck has left their possession. It’s almost as if the defense is blocking for the goalie. That’s a football play, not a hockey play.

  2. nogoodtomedead - May 15, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    The lack of interference calls are the most blatant. And its been the case all year- not just at the end and the payoffs. Not only d-men actually physically slowing the offense chasing the dump-in- but also cutting into the offensive players lines to the puck and just sowing down. Then when it does get called your totally confused why is wasn’t called the 20 other times.

    • nogoodtomedead - May 15, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      Apparently the ‘l’ on my keyboard doesn’t work well

  3. sabatimus - May 15, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    He’s right, of course, but its a terrible irony that he plays for the Rangers, who have one of the worst power plays around. The denial by NHL officials is simply blatant lying.

  4. vindicatus - May 15, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    Because they didn’t have enough PP opportunities already?

  5. jakpsu1 - May 15, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Ruslan Fedotenko- The Man, The Myth, The Legend

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