NHL diary: intersecting repression, nothing new


In the Kraken’s pre-season finale, between the Kraken and the Canucks, there were five crossover calls. It wasn’t unusual for the preseason that was in the NHL.

NHL rule 59, known as the “crosscheck,” has come under crackdown this season. The stricter application of the sanction should “promote offense and reduce injuries,” according to the league.

“The checkback, like many penalties, is a judgment rendered by an official and is not black and white,” the NHL’s hockey operations department said in September. “No two games are exactly the same and many factors including stick placement, forcible elimination and player embellishment are taken into account when evaluating the crosschecks.

“Officials may allow players to use the stick handle to guide or push an opponent without imposing a penalty, but if the guiding or pushing is found to be excessive, a penalty for interference may be assessed. “

Countercheck is a common minor penalty that occurs when a player uses both hands on the stick of the stick to forcefully “control an opponent”, according to the league rulebook. There were 261 cross-over calls in the league last season, about one in every three contests.

Things started to get out of hand last season. Jeff Jackson, agent for Connor McDavid, arguably the best player in the league with the Oilers, took to Twitter after some blatant no-calls last year.

“Amazing athletes and so much speed and skill in the game now,” Jackson tweeted. “But watching the abuse that star players suffer is hard to watch. Felt like the 80s with the cross tiles in the back and the hack and slash. The NFL protects the QBs? Why not us ?

One example last season was in the Stanley Cup semifinals when the New York Islanders apparently took every opportunity to put their bat on Nikita Kucherov of the Lightning.

In the crackdown, officials seek to call cross-checks that have “excessive force”, compared to games on open ice where players are allowed to use their sticks to “push or guide” an opposing player defensively.

“It’s something you take note of,” Kraken forward Mason Appleton said. “The game is played clean and fast now, but you just want to do the correct readings with your stick and not hold it with both hands parallel to the ice, this is probably the most important because it is a easy call for the referee. “

This kind of repression on specific offenses is not out of the ordinary. Prior to the 2017-18 season, there was a similar preseason mandate to impose cut calls more strictly. This preseason also saw a crackdown on faceoff violations, which resulted in more players being sent off from the faceoff point before the official dropped the puck.

This lasted until about December. So if recent history has taught us anything, we might see more power plays to start the season on cross-checks. Don’t expect this app to continue all season long.

“I don’t think that’s something you think about during the game, I know I’m just trying to play my game and that’s not part of it,” Appleton said. “For bigger, more physical defenders who like to box with their sticks, it could be a bit more aggressive. “

Wage cap issues in the league

It’s less than a week into the NHL season and teams have already had to get creative against the salary cap.

On Saturday it was the Maple Leafs, who were left without a backup goaltender after Petr Mrazak was injured.

No, they didn’t bring in a Zamboni driver this time around, but they had to go beyond their organization list.

Toronto called on University of Toronto goaltender Austin Bishop for an amateur tryout deal. He backed Leafs goalie Jack Campbell against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.

Because Toronto is so close to the ceiling, the Maple Leafs were not allowed to call back AHL goalie Michael Hutchinson to fill the void. Teams are allowed an emergency injury recall, but only after playing a game below that position. Running out of a goalie isn’t ideal.

The Maple Leafs were already short of forwards so they chose between calling a player up front or supporting Campbell since they only had room for one.

If it brings up memories of a similar cap situation, you might remember last season when the Vegas Golden Knights played with just 15 players.

In fact, Golden Knights woes have struck again for opening night against the Kraken this week. With exactly $ 0 of ceiling space, they had no wiggle room.

In Tuesday’s Golden Knights opener, Mattias Janmark was in COVID protocol, Nicolas Roy and Brett Howden were both out, and William Carrier a question mark, despite playing. But they only had 11 forwards left, including Pavel Dorofeyev, who made his NHL debut, and AHL’s Jack Dugan, to offer a pay break. Dylan Coghlan, a defender, was playing up front.

After the first game was over and the roster was more flexible, the two were sent back to the AHL. But that was the start of what could be a cap-juggling season for the Golden Knights.

Big pay days

It’s pretty amazing that Charlie McAvoy has the same contract as Seth Jones.

Jones, traded to Chicago in the offseason and immediately signed a mega-deal, struggled in Game 1, losing to the Avalanche. Last season, he was 1.1 games worse than a replacement defenseman, if you believe the analysis, having been a true number one defenseman at Columbus a few years ago.

McAvoy, on the other hand, has become one of the best five-on-five defensemen in the NHL, and he should be worth it throughout his eight years.

McAvoy’s $ 9.5 million annual average figure aligns with other young stud defenders who have won mega-deals this offseason, such as Cale Makar ($ 9 million) with the Avalanche and Miro Heiskanen ($ 8.5 million) with the Stars.

McAvoy, only 23, was slated to be a restricted free agent after the season and is in the final year of a three-year transition contract that paid him $ 4.9 million per season. He became the Bruins’ top defenseman after they failed to rehire longtime captain Zdeno Chara until last season.


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