Tim Panaccio writes about what a lot of people have probably noticed: Checking is leaving the NHL (login info.).
I’ve certainly noticed that. It’s cool that a player can get through the neutral zone without having some guy water-skiing behind him, but I can’t remember seeing any kind of neutral zone checking so far this season. It’s slightly better in the offensive zones, but not a lot better. You still see lots of nice hits behind the nets, but the corners are pretty peaceful.
Is this better for the game?
I don’t know. You can easily score a goal and not bring a crowd to its feet. But if you land a huge hit? Everyone is getting up.
Heck. Miro Satan finally decided to start scoring for the Islanders, but people are more excited about his previously-untapped checking abilities.
So I’m one of the people hoping the NHL will clarify things with the officials, and encourage them to keep blowing the whistle for hooking and tripping, but also let them know that a little bit of physical contact is OK.
Wow. I just channeled the high school version of myself. In fact, I almost recommended giving the officials a few wine coolers so they’re more OK with physical contact.