Teams and players don’t have a lot of time to get ready for the start of the shortened campaign, but they aren’t the only ones that need to get up to speed.
NHL referees and linesmen are also about to get back to work and with that in mind, they’ll attend a two-day camp in Toronto on Jan. 16-17, according to the Star Tribune.
The details of the camp aren’t known, but the pre-lockout debate about obstruction penalties is one subject that’s likely to come up.
On Aug. 21-22, the NHL held a mini-summit for players, GMs, coaches, officials, and members of the league’s hockey operations to discuss the standard for obstruction penalties.
General Managers had expressed concerns that the league had lowered its standard when it came to punishing interference, hooking and holding. At the same time, both power-play opportunities and scoring have declined in recent years.
It should be interesting to see if either of those trends are reversed this season.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…