[AHL Commissioner David] Andrews said that there has been a slippage in hooking and holding penalties being called in both [the NHL and AHL]. If it slips any more obstruction will slow down the game and they’ll really need to address the issue again.

Keith Wozniak, Lets Go Amerks!

Comments (9)

  1. I always eye these numbers with suspicion. Is the arrest rate for grow ops down because there are fewer grow ops, or because the dealers are getting smarter and/or the cops are missing more? Same thing here. I’m thinking it’s a little of A, a little of B: there’s less obstruction, but the refs are also calling less, as a percentage, of the visibly obvious fouls than they did four years ago.

  2. Good point, Doogie. I’m sure it’s a combination of the two, but I’m meshing this with what I’ve seen and I really do think the standard has slipped.

    I can’t back that up, though, so I’m not dogmatic about it.

  3. I think they have found a meeting point in today’s NHL where smarter calls are being made, as well as players are learning more to not use their sticks. I remember the year after the lockout there were multiple times a game where questionable calls were made. They have probably met somewhere between cracking down and beeing smarter, much like Doogie said

  4. I think that graph is what the NHL wanted to see after the spike don’t you?

    It’s hard to tease apart, but I think obstruction itself is down as well. Plus, the calls in 2005-06 were over the edge. Uncalled obstruction? Yes it’s a problem, but it was a problem in 05-06 too, as the refs called raised sticks like robots, but allowed actual blocking (aka obstruction).

    I don’t know about you, but I think the raised stick on the hips is down across the league. In this way the refs have accomplished their mission.

  5. If your coaching an NHL team and a player is still taking lots of obstruction penalties he’s not going to be on the roster for too luch longer. Just like anything in sports, teams adapt to the new rules. Which it was intended to do and the game is definetly a lot faster today than year’s past. The d-men can’t hold players up and the lazy offensive players can’t hook on and go for a ride (except for maybe Bertuzzi or Kovalev). They offensive players have to move there feet and play D,

  6. I agree with the above comments. If David Andrews bothered to watch an NHL game he would realize that for the most part players have learned not to obstruct opponents anymore. There are more breakaways and dipsy doodle plays in the NHL today than there were back in the 1998 to 2004 span when obstruction was a big problem. When skill players get into the slot area and behind the net where they used to get tackled now they have room to make plays and use their skill.

    I think that the refs and players have just reached a medium where the refs aren’t calling the bogus/borderline obstruction penalties that were called during the 05-06 season. Anybody that watched hockey that season saw refs call guys just for tapping their sticks against an opposing player’s hip. Basically players were being called anytime their stick was parallel to the ice surface. I mean the first year after the lockout most games saw teams get 6 to 7 powerplays a night on average and that’s ridiculous. The game is fine right now.

  7. Good point, Andrew. From a players point of view you just learn what you can get away with and do it up to that point. This season NHL refs are just letting them play more sometimes.

  8. Just because power play opps are at a low, it does not follow that refs have stopped calling obstruction. No way is the current NHL like the old clutch, grab and hook NHL. As others have noted there are other more probable explanations. Having said that, I did observe in the past couple weeks a weird “relaxing” of the obstruction rule.

  9. You all are missing the point. The point is that the calling is slowly decreasing. Great, its better than the late 90s, but it is worse than when the league cracked down after the lock-out . Most people agree that the time immediately after the lockout was a great time to watch hockey (at least after the first month or two when players were adjusting) and the league is getting away from that.

    I am sick of seeing a player dump a puck in and then be ridden into the boards from the middle of the ice, just inside the opposing team’s blue line, so that he can’t retrieve it. It kills offense, clogs the neutral zones, and makes for an ugly, less exciting game.

    I think that NHL players have learned to get away with what they can, and like kids growing up in their parents’ household, we know how that ends up: kids gradually leaning on their parents, getting more and more over time.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_A0WaWSMnIQ8/R57EPn2cURI/AAAAAAAAAMo/DvWGvWr7Oc4/s1600-h/penalty-chart.jpg

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