In an earlier post, we tried to help those freaking out over the faceoff and slashing crackdowns, suggesting they take a pill and wait for the inevitable return to the status quo. Perhaps we were too cynical in jumping the gun?
After only one week of regular season hockey, one thing has become very clear. The zero tolerance for slashing has delivered a miracle to NHL regular season hockey. It has opened up the game and provided us with a steady diet of dangerous scoring chances at a frequency we’re not used to. It has allowed skill to finally overtake brawn.
It would be a huge mistake for the NHL to allow it’s referees to slowly return to the days of hack-n-slash. To hell with smaller goalie equipment and larger nets, this slashing thing has made those ideas second-tier issues.
It’s true, the parade to the penalty box is tough to watch right now. But that’s for the players to solve, not the referees. The only players who should be whining now are the slow immobile rearguards who will soon find themselves out of work – permanently. Without the ability to slash away, their true value, or lack of value, has been exposed for all to see.
If the NHL sticks to its guns, Sidney Crosby may go down as the last official winner of the Paul Bunyan Hack-N-Slash Award. And in Calgary, Johnny Hockey can concentrate on dangling, instead of returning to the bench to count his fingers.