The NHL futzes around with details (the blasted ‘hand pass’ controversy) but refuses to deal with the major issues (violence, intimidation and concussions; lack of offence, scoring and excitement).
Note the agony over OT, the shootout, 3-on-3, definite kicking motion, when they really should address the fact that Sidney Crosby has been concussed down to size, that Pavel Datsyuk gets slashed fifty times a game without it drawing a call, it gets characterized as ‘defensive play’.
Remember the furor over Linus Omark? The kid had moves and skill, was flashy, and he got buried, he’s not even in the league now. Meanwhile, Brad Marchand is a ‘passionate’ player who sometimes strays over the line. It’s madness.
I don’t have much time for RDS analyst Benoit Brunet, but one of his comments is so dead-on: whenever adjustments are debated on OT rules, etc., he asks, “Can we worry about improving the quality of play over the previous 60 minutes instead of fiddling around with the five minutes of OT?”
Instead of allowing more crashing and banging in the crease to “create more goals”, which are ugly, unspectacular goals anyway, why don’t we allow Evgeni Malkin and the Sedin brothers to wow us with their moves, instead of lionizing a Daniel Winnik for his effort and defensive play.
Diving is such a non-issue. Let the players play, free of intimidation and check-finishers and routine slashing every second of every game, and scoring will go up, and diving won’t be necessary.
Then, address any further instances of diving after the fact, with video evidence, and suspend players, coaches, and dock teams some draft picks. State very clearly that it’s cheating, like doctoring the baseballs, it’s an attack on the integrity of the game, and it won’t be tolerated. None of this $2000 business.
Get the teams and the coaches, and it will stop. But again, the league wants the players to bear the brunt of this, suffer the consequences when they try to win, try to find a way around the nonsense that is the NHL.