Time to change the Rule Book

Does the National Hockey League have an image problem?  After last week, you bet it does.  For all the great strides the league has taken to gain credibility for the sport nationally and attracting newer and younger fans, last week erased a lot of it.

For the most part, the record book as it is written has largely stayed unrefined for decades, other than a minor change to offsides, icing, hooking and holding etc.  As far as the major fighting penalties, they have been not been addressed.  Sure they have an instigating rule, but does that really determine whether one guy starts a fight or not?

Once again, let me say that no one has a issue when two hockey players fight, they talk about it and agree to drop their gloves and throw punches.  Its the cheap shots and dirty plays that need to be addressed.

When politically correct people use the treat everyone the same philosophy, they let the really bad apples get away with everything while the guy who protects himself get dragged into the abyss.  As of now the rule book states that it is a two minute minor and a game misconduct for instigating a fight. Please, someone tell me what the ratio is between how many instigator minors are called compared to the number of fights that take place.  If Gary Bettman wanted to make sure that incidents like the Pens/Isles and Bos/Mon games don’t happen, make it a game suspension for starting a fight and double the suspension every time it happens.

Take the nasty incident when Matt Martin jumped Max Talbot.  If Talbot didn’t see him at the last minute, the league would have had another Todd Bertuzzi situation on their hands.    If the league really wanted to make sure an incident like that never happens again, Colin Campbell should have handed down no less than a 20 game suspension, then players would think twice about acting like an ass and having to explain to their family why they are idiots and why he embarrassed them to whole sporting community, not to mention the money lost.

I will add that I am not sure what the Collective Bargaining Agreement allows for, with regard to penalties and suspensions,  but if that was the factor of such lenient punishments then the Players Association is just as much to fault.

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2 Responses to “Time to change the Rule Book”

  1. It is just a matter of time before someone is killed by one of these no-talent goons who are brought up from the AHL to be an “enforcer”.

  2. I see it took Trevor Gillies all of 22 minutes to get himself ejected and suspended again.

    Member of the New York media have no room to make comments about Matt Cooke’s presence on the Penguins’ roster, so long as the Islanders continue to employ this…for lack of a more printable word…cementhead.

    I don’t know how limited Gary Bettman is by the NHL’s CBA, but a suspension for the rest of the season would not have been either undeserved or unwarranted here.

    There has been an outcry lately for the NHL to do something to either curb or eliminate fighting from the sport, and as we learn more and more about the long-term effects on the brain of absorbing blows, whether it be an elbow, forearm, or fist, it might be time to do just that. But at least, in 95% of hockey fights, both players are willing participants, and neither tries to get a jump on the other via a sucker punch.

    A more pressing concern for the league is to deal with the cheap stuff, like you see almost every time a Trevor Gillies steps on the ice, or the sorts of things that Matt Cooke engages in.

    Too Cookie’s credit, it appears that he has made an effort to clean up his game since his return from the suspension. He’s still going to cross the line from time to time, but so does every player who makes his living playing on the edge like that.

    Even so, what those players do pales by a factor of 50 to the thuggish behavior of unskilled players like Gillies. Those guys are more of a black mark on the sport than the Georges Laraques…who does have some hockey skills…or even a Sean Avery…who can be a moderately skilled hockey player, when he isn’t too busy being a moron.

    There’s where the NHL needs to clean the game up.