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NHL to review obstruction standards at Toronto mini-summit

Aug 18, 2012, 12:35 AM EDT

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Lost in the recent labor unrest is the fact that some actual on-ice hockey business will soon be discussed.

From Aug. 21-22, a mini-summit of GMs, coaches, players, officials and the NHL’s hockey ops department will meet in Toronto to discuss significant rules — most pressingly, the standard for obstruction penalties.

From Sports Illustrated’s Stu Hackel:

The meeting grew out of the GMs gathering in March during which some expressed concern that the league had softened its resolve to restrict interference, hooking and holding.

That perception had also been circulating in the media, and while it wasn’t part of the GMs’ complaints, the fact is that with goal scoring having declined annually since the post-lockout rules were implemented, the return of clutching and grabbing was blamed.

Teams averaged 6.16 goals per game in 2005-06. Last season, it was 5.32 per game, on a par with the Dead Puck Era just prior to the lockout.

NHL Senior VP of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said he didn’t think the obstruction standard was broken, “but I don’t think it’s perfect, either.” He also admitted several teams questioned if the standard had slipped as the season progressed.

“We got eight or ten teams sending things in after that March meeting,” Campbell said. “Mostly we got examples of interference on the forecheck, running the gauntlet, holding up guys.”

The meeting will feature some of the most prominent names in hockey. Coaches include Nashville’s Barry Trotz, Phoenix’s Dave Tippett, St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock, Boston’s Claude Julien and Chicago’s Joel Quenneville.

GMs: Buffalo’s Darcy Regier, Pittsburgh’s Ray Shero, Vancouver’s Mike Gillis and Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman.

Director of Officiating Terry Gregson and Manager of Officiating Bill McCreary will also be in attendance.

  1. 950003cups - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    Every time the Devils have success, they hanger the rules. Here’s a rule they need to change to reduce injuries: REMOVE THE DAMN TRAPEZOID BEFORE SOMEONE GETS KILLED!!!

  2. loinstache - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    This is excellent news, and I’m happy that actual comments on the matter were made by officials regardless of what the outcome may be. I understand they have to protect their own hides, but the gap in communication between reffs and the public really hurts the image of the sport.

  3. cfab44 - Aug 18, 2012 at 5:50 AM

    thats because the devils have been making hockey boring as hell, since 1995.

  4. craigmaitland - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Yada Yada all goes out the window come playoff time anyways.

  5. stakex - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Watch a game from the 90’s, or early 2000’s… and then watch any ten random games from this year. You will very clearly see that obstruction hasn’t made its way back into the NHL.

    There are a few reason scoring and penelty calls are down. First of all players are getting better at avoiding penelties. Of course there are going to be more calls when massive rule changes take effects, and that spike will go down over time as players get use to the rules. Thats the main reason penelty calls are down and the reason no rule change is going to result in a long term increase in power plays…

    Also teams are getting better at killing penelties, and playing defense. Your not seeing nearly as much run and gun in the NHL as you were a few years ago. Now its all about defense first. The only true run and gun team last year was blown out in the first round by another semi-run and gun team which was in turn blown out in the 2nd round.

    The other thing is, the refs have backed off calling some of the more laughable penelties we have been seeing over the last few years. There have been way too many times where “hooking” was called for lifting a players stick, or giving them a love tap on the gloves as they were breaking in. Those were BS calls, and the refs have ever so slightly backed off them over the last couple years. Thats a GOOD thing.

    Look, a little bit of obstruction is not why goal numbers are down. Teams are better defensivly, players are taking less penelties because they have adapted to the rules, and refs aren’t calling as many BS penelties. I little more obstruction to slow the game down a fraction probably isn’t a bad thing. It was after all just a year ago when everyone was talking about how the game had become to open and that it was becoming dangerous…

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