DON’T GET ME STARTED remembers those good old days when true hockey fans were screaming at the stripe shirted guys on the ice skating around as if to get some exercise. Fans exercised their lungs by screaming at them when so many obvious infractions failed to get a foul call.

Most of the objections to failure-to-call them zeroed on the third period when the phrase, “The refs put the whistle in the pocket.” That indictment echoed throughout the NHL.

Then came the most famous of calls that sent shivers to the spine of the NHL big shots. All the fans were familiar with the rule that if an opponent has his skate touching the blue crease and a goal is scored – it is ruled no goal and goalie interference was called. The rules were later changed.

In game 6 of the late 90s finals between Buffalo and Dallas – in overtime – Brett Hull was in the blue crease and scored the trophy winning goal……..and it was allowed. Bedlam broke loose. Gary Bettman who was to present the trophy to Dallas was roundly booed by the sold out house. Fans were screaming “no-goal” because of Brett being in the blue.

In the press room following the game, the NHL people informed the media that a memo was sent out allowing a skater to skate into the crease and score a goal. That surprised the media (and that included me) since most didn’t receive the “memo” and I couldn’t recall having read anything about it.

Fast forward to the just concluded Stanley Cup Finals between the Rangers and the Kings – and even other playoff games. I don’t recall reading anywhere that the NHL issued a memo that would relax the rules on interference, boarding and other infractions like clutching, grabbing and some slashing that weren’t called,

Make no mistake it was quite a playoff – fast and furious without too many marching in and out of the penalty box as was the case during the regular season. During the season, the refs were doing a fine job calling many penalties, creating scoring opportunities and power plays.

Probably the biggest non-calls in these playoffs came on interference. During the season, if someone without the puck was bumped, the whistle was blown. In these playoffs, especially the finals, there was so much interference that maybe the NFL would be wise to show the NFL and its players how to interfere for a running back with the ball.

Mind you – I enjoyed the playoffs but continue to object to what I feel is a great relaxing of the rules once the playoffs start – and especially in the Finals when the whistle was put in the pockets of the refs. If you have rules – insist that they be followed. Pocketing the whistle happened in Buffalo and it certainly seemed to appear big time in the 2014 playoffs. Watch the regular season next year and how many penalties are called, including ones that might have caught an opponent breathing on his adversary in the third period or overtime

In short, I am a proponent of following the rules. In these playoffs it seemed to me that fans witnessed the good old “Whistle-In-The-Pocket” adventure on Don’t Get Me Started.

Filed under: Don't Get Me Started

Tagged with:

Readers Comments (0)

Sorry, comments are closed on this post.