A little earlier this afternoon, we discussed Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke’s somewhat melodramatic reaction to his beloved bear hug rule being received about as well as the idea of actually being “hugged” by a bear. (Editor’s note: they’re not going to hug you, Grizzly Man.)
Burke wasn’t just bummed about the bear hug rule, though. He also brought up a far less controversial idea to eliminate one of the NHL’s most polarizing post-lockout penalties: an automatic delay of game minor if a player sends the puck over the glass in his own zone. Hockey purists go wild over the penalty and Burke agreed – but other GMs didn’t share his opinion, according to what he told James Mirtle.
Thus when Burke discussed getting “dirt kicked in his face,” he might have been describing a double shot of sorts.
A lesser evil
Personally speaking, I’ve been a bit divided on the delay of game penalty. There are times when whistling it seems arbitrary, but call this viewpoint jaded if you like, but there’s a certain cleanness about taking some guesswork out of referees’ hands. I think NHL zebras get far too much of a hard time for making tough calls in one of the world’s fastest sports, yet the significant decay of obstruction penalties shows that they’ll swallow their whistles when they can.
Ultimately, I’d like it to be a judgment call, but much like the shootout, it’s probably best to shift to bigger issues. I’d rather the league focus on a) no-brainers like removing the trapezoid and instituting hybrid icing and b) actually enforcing rules that already exist.
Where do you stand on the polarizing puck-over-the-glass penalty, though? Do you hate it, understand it or maybe a combination of the two? Do tell.