DON’T GET ME STARTED admits that the NHL playoffs are very intense and exciting but they have little resemblance to the regular season.

There were those many years, if not decades, that fans complained about the referees putting the whistle in their pockets in the 3rd period of games, allowing teams to get away with stuff they wouldn’t allow in the first two periods.

Forget the third period.  It’s now accepted before the opening whistle.  The NHL has a strange way of conducting itself.  Take, for instance that famous Stanley Cup clinching “No Goal” that was scored by Hull against the Sabres when Hull’s skates were clearly in the blue paint.  That would have been “no goal” and a penalty against Dallas during the regular season.  But the NHL referred to a “mysterious memo” as reasons why the goal stood.

Now to the 2013 playoffs.  I have never seen so much clutching, grabbing, tripping, boarding, ever so much cross checking – not to mention interference and boarding as I have in these playoffs.  Fans have seen high sticks crease the face of players drawing blood ……… calls on the play.

To me, it’s apparent that the refs are “letting the teams play” perhaps as a way to entice non-hockey fans to come to the channel to watch the games.  After all if “X” games and kick-boxing and wrestling brings them to the tube…..why not hockey.

I will take back all the criticism I have against the NHL and Gary Bettman IF they continue to let the game be played as it is now……in the regular season.  I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that once the new season begins, the players will be whisked to the sin bin faster than you can yell “penalty.”

As for the players?  They don’t know what to think.  Most realize that there will be many non-calls and take advantage of the situation and continue to “play” around the rules.  The refs hope they don’t fall down and dent the whistle in their back pockets.

The NHL has to make up its mind.  How is the league going to mandate what is a penalty and what isn’t a penalty?  Even those fans that enjoy what’s being shown and played now must be surprised of the many non-calls happening in these playoffs.  Exciting yes.  According to the rules?  Not to my eyes.

But the NHL has to let the fans know that they are serious about following the rules of the game – something they’ve failed to do on many occasions in the past on Don’t Get Me Started.

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