Daniel Sedin of the Canucks celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime against the Wild Feb. 19, 2008. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images)
The NHL is trying to increase scoring and excitement, while decreasing obstruction and deadlocked games.
So why are they even considering implementing one-minute penalties in overtime?
Why would the league want to decrease the length of penalties in a period that is supposed to be all about offense; that is why they decided to make overtime 4-on-4 in the first place.
Having two-minute penalties in a five-minute period is crippling. More than one-third of the time when a team is shorthanded in the extra frame it comes back to bite them, but that is what makes players wary of using stickwork at such a crucial point in the game.
If you cut the length of the two-minute penalty in half for overtime, it makes players twice as likely to gamble on committing obstruction. It also panders to the team committing the foul, which is a 180-degree turn from where the NHL said it was heading coming out of the lockout.
If you’re going to mess with rules surrounding a penalty, why not make the penalized team kill the full two minutes – in regulation, of course – regardless of how many goals the other team scores?
There’d be more offense, more of a deterrent for obstruction and, hopefully, a more wide-open game. Is this not what the NHL claims it’s shooting for?
I fail to see the logic in reducing the length of penalties in overtime. I guess the argument is a penalty that takes up nearly half the period puts a team at a major disadvantage – duh – and a one-minute call would lead to more games going to a shootout.
What makes an overtime penalty any less deserving of time in the box?
What’s next? One-minute penalties in the last five minutes of regulation? Or how about three-minute penalties to try and stimulate comebacks and push more games into overtime?
I’m a traditionalist at heart, but I’m not against the shootout – and I acknowledge that some change is necessary. Heck, if the game never changed, we wouldn’t even have forward passes today.
But, no matter how you look at it, scoring a big goal in sudden death overtime is the best way to end a game, period. Not only is it more exciting and gratifying, but it is also more of a team victory than an individual triumph.
It is a hockey ending.
Make penalties more harmful to a team, not less. Keep two-minute penalties in overtime. They’re supposed to put teams at a disadvantage.
NOTHING FOUL ABOUT LIDSTROM HIT
In the office yesterday a few of us were having a debate on the Ian Laperriere check on Nicklas Lidstrom. Was it clean, or did the elbow come up enough to warrant a penalty?
To me there is no question: It was a clean hit.
When I first saw the check I didn’t think there would be much of a discussion about it, but some argue Laperriere’s elbow intentionally drove Lidstrom in the chin.
Give me a break!
You can see Laperriere with his shoulder down heading into the check. You are taught to go in with your shoulder low and explode up into a hit. That is exactly what Laperriere did and it was only the awkwardness Lidstrom went into the boards with that made it look sketchy.
Not every hit that leads to an injury is dirty; it’s a rough game and guys will get hurt. Here's the difference: Elbow. And no elbow.
What was Laperriere supposed to do, just let Lidstrom, one of the league’s best defensemen, take the puck?
If you are going to start calling penalties and/or suspensions for a hit like this, you might as well either a) take hitting completely out of the game or, b) hand out one-minute penalties to any player hitting a guy with an ‘A’ or ‘C’ on his jersey.
Rory Boylen is THN.com's web content specialist. His blog appears Thursdays.
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