After a lil' break in which I seriously thought about quitting hockey-watching for good and becoming a... what? Golf-fan perhaps (no excitement, no emotions as I see it), I'm back with a question - what do you gals think about the Zero Tolerance Rules?
I don't know when refs started it over there in the NHL - here it was a change that began, like, in December of last year. Before that, Austria's league was pretty hard, and with getting foreign players, especially defensemen, our teams tried to get at least one or two of these heavily built enforcers that know how to swoosh the enemy away in front of the goal. Of course they didn't kill each other and of course there were enough penalties back then too, just not *that* much.
Then Zero Tolerance started right in the middle of last season, and the teams found themselves with enforcers that already had a lot of penalty minutes, but now basically sat in the penalty box all the time - defensemen who used to be good players didn't have a chance to play anymore, as soon as they stepped on the ice, they got their 2 mins, whether they had done something or not. Yeah, great.
This year things got even worse, refs have the order to penalize "every foul". And yes, I'm all for that, real fouls have to be penalized. I hate these high-sticking-actions that are really dangerous, and the holding and grabbing and whatever sucks too. But: Our refs are so stupid that they penalize fouls that aren't even there! When I watch NHL-games, I see that it happens over there as well, but definitely not to the amount as over here - is that correct?
For ex, last night HC Innsbruck played against the Red Bulls Salzburg, our best team here so far - and that &%$§§§%%&%! ref managed 82 penalty minutes in the first period! For heaven's sake - I read our forum today and found out that not only I didn't see a hard game or a foul game or bad fouls or such - there weren't any! 2 guys battle for the puck at the edge of the rink - woosh, 2 mins each. A stupid look on one of the players faces - 10 mins. For heaven's sake, could there be a hockey game without 2 guys fighting for the puck at the edge? They didn't even hold each other!
That show was continued throughout the game, in the end we had seen dozens and dozens of powerplays - don't these refs (or the ones that introduced the Zero Tolerance rules to us) realize that they completely damage the game? How could a game start to flow as it should when there's no playing 5:5? You could see it so well, as soon as there were 5 guys of each team on the ice, a really fast, but clean hockey game would have started - until 1 second later that ref swallowed his whistle-thing again. I mean, come on - if we want to see hockey without any check whatsoever, shouldn't we go to watch a swimming competition instead? Even the girl's teams here are allowed to play harder! Brrrr... That's not my hockey anymore, and definitely not a hockey that I'd enjoy to see!
How's that overseas, how does the NHL handle this Zero-Tolerance-idiocy?