In reading up on some of the fluff pieces written at this time of year, one writer has done something that no other writer apparently has - asked an obvious quesion. Thanks to ESPN's Scott Burnside, he's actually asked a question I've been wondering about since about February of last year and he asked a guy I particularly don't like at all in Chris Pronger.
Pronger's answer, however, is suprising and a revelation - is he trying to win us over? Yeah, probably, that is until he picks another fight with a gooning stalwart like Dan Cleary:
Speaking of the big Anaheim defenseman, he also might be be the liveliest
interview in the league. Asked whether he believed officiating was relaxed a bit
to allow for more physical play in the defensive zone, Pronger didn't
"You know what, you are right. They are letting us get away with a lot
more. I don't like it. I don't like it," Pronger said. "Again, I haven't given
much thought to it.
"This is actually the first time I've actually answered this question … we are getting away with more, probably from the top of the circles in respect to the little hooks, quality scoring chances, things of that nature. You're able to limit the elite players, the players that are going to be able to create the bulk of the chances. Which is a good thing. For me. Probably not for those guys."
Emphasis mine on that quotation, of course.
So we have a thorough stable of guys that cover all the teams in the NHL for radio, TV and newsprint. We have multiple cable channels covering the sport in Canada and the United States. We have national networks in both countries that cover the sport - and NONE OF THEM HAVE ASKED ABOUT THIS?!
Un-freaking-real. You all embarass me because even an arm-chair loose-cannon like myself that only gets to catch NHL games on TV can see these things happening, especially in the playoffs where referees are even less likely to want to "decide a game" with a call. Deciding games with a host of non-calls is more the way to go nowadays.
This is sickening. The reporters, in this case, have to be the gatekeepers to keep everyone aware of what the hell is going on. Of course, when you still have a lot of games cranking out where teams are scoring six, seven or eight goals in a game - it sends the message to these ninnies that all is well. As we witnessed in the playoffs and end of the season last year as well as for most of this year - all is NOT well and old habits are returning in force.
I'd like to think that a stunning quote like this from one of the league's biggest stars would be enough to draw attention to things....but even in Scott Burnsides' article, it's buried beneath talking about the different events in the Skills Competition, the lack of big stars turning out for the event and the possibility of the league adding two games to the schedule next season.
I guess if its two more games full of lockdown boredom hockey people might start to notice and get worried again. Then again, none of the hockey writers seem to notice or care in the first place.