NHL out to get Columbus? Really?

October 31, 2008

OK, by now you know that Jared Boll was suspended one game and Ken Hitchcock was fined $10,000.  The reason:

The disciplinary action is pursuant to NHL Rule 47.22, which states “a player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five minutes of regulation time or at anytime in overtime, shall automatically be suspended for one game … in addition, the player’s coach shall be fined $10,000 – a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.”

I have to say that this is a real rule and it was applied appropriately in this situation.  I can’t wait to read the comments now.  But there are other things that need examined.

Everyone (in Columbus) is talking about the penalty given to Derek Dorsett last night for holding the stick.  I watched the game and have it recorded and I don’t see any stick holding, although I’m sure it was off-camera.  What I did see, like everyone else with two eyes, is Milan Hejduk taking a free shot at Dorsett’s mouth with his stick AFTER the call was made.  This is a real problem in the NHL and the league better crack down.  In the current NHL, once a referee raises his arm to signal a delayed penalty call, a lot of players on the offending team think that they have the right to take a free shot before play is stopped.  We certainly saw that last night when Hejduk popped Dorsett in the mouth, but another example occurred on Wednesday.  Our good friend Chris Pronger decided to take a free shot at Pavel Datsyuk’s head on and got away with it.  Watch it here.  No calls on the secondary penalties in Denver or Anaheim; Can you tell me why, NHL?  Do you think calling one penalty is enough?  Is this another example of the old, comfortable way of doing things that you haven’t changed yet?  Will you form a committee to study it and come up with a recommendation?

But getting back to the original question, is the NHL out to get Columbus?  I don’t know, but the Jackets do lead the league in PIMs per game with 22.6, more than Anaheim, the role model for chippy and rough play.  The Jackets also have 74 penalties, a distant third to Anaheim’s 92, but the way things are going, they can catch up.  But is that the only criteria for evaluating a league screw job?

What about questionable goals?  First, there was the NY Ranger’s Brandon Dubinsky scoring a skate directed but not kicked in goal against the Jackets on October 24th.  You remember that one, those of you who watched it on TV.  (Those of you who went to the game didn’t get to see it due to the idiotic Blue Jacket policy of NO REPLAYS!!!)  Dubinsky clearly moved his skate into a postion to direct the puck.  As I watched the game, I figured this was an easy, no goal call against the visiting team.  So much for easy calls.  Toronto didn’t even blink, allowing the goal and telling everyone to get on with the game and shut up.

And of course there was last Saturday night, when the video officials decided they couldn’t overturn Rick Nash’s goal against Minnesota, so they let the on-ice crew overturn their own decision.  Here was the easy, no goal call against the visiting team.  One of those officals, Dan Marouelli, worked last night’s game, but was not involved in the Dorsett-Hejduk non call. He also didn’t see Ian Laperriere cross-check/interfere/elbow Jared Boll a minute before the two of them squared off, either.  But hey, you can’t see them all, right?  But you can see more of them if you make an effort to be consistant and not just mail it in, Dan!

It was great last night to see the Jackets play up to expectations and I hope they can build from this.  But the team has to wonder what they need to do to get a break from the officials.  Winning more games will give them more breaks, but overcoming pre-disposed officals is another battle.

-Truth Serum

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