It’s unclear if the second day of this spring’s GM meetings will bring any conclusions more substantial than Gary Bettman’s five-point plan to inhibit concussions, but that doesn’t meant that progress won’t be made.
One of Tuesday’s main focuses regarded the need for greater enforcement of charging and boarding penalties.
It makes sense that general managers would attack those two types of infractions since those forms of “hockey plays” tend to generate a big chunk of the NHL’s worst headline-grabbing checks.
While legislating on hits along the board might be difficult because you cannot completely remove those battles for the puck, cutting down on charging seems like a no-brainer. Whenever people look at controversial hits, they often focus on the location of the blow (“But he hit him in the shoulder, not the head” is a common – and reasonable – response.) Yet what often gets lost is how many strides a player took before delivering a brutal check.
Don’t take this the wrong way, because charging isn’t evident in every hit, but there are times when a player builds up a troubling amount of momentum before such a check. Those are instances when it’s difficult to avoid calling such an attack “premeditated.”
NHL.com has some details on the charging and boarding-related talks.
NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Terry Gregson appeared today on NHL Live! following Tuesday morning’s session. He said referees need to think about three questions as they evaluate the merit of a charging or boarding call: Did the player making the hit have any regard for the puck? Is the player making the hit trying to separate the player from the puck? Or was the player making the hit just to punish?
Maybe they should ask one other penalty, though: should referees be bolder about handing out harsher penalties for such infractions? Two of the best ways to punish teams is on the ice or at the bank, so maybe tangible fines and more punitive penalties would help curb this problem even more.
Anyway, we’ll keep you abreast of the details regarding the GM meetings. Stay tuned.