Monday, December 11, 2006

Zero Tolerance? Grrrr...

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?


KnittingJones said...

I can't figure out refs at all. Sometimes they ignore obvious infractions (intentional), and other times call what was clearly not intended to be a hit or a high stick. I mean, hockey is played on ice! People slide!

It still seems to vary from game to game to me, with some very high in penalty minutes, and some not. I also think our refs turn a blind eye during overtime, too.

barbp said...

I can't figure the refs out either. We all know there are referee clinics that they have to go to. I don't know how many referees there are but I would think they could all go to the same clinic during the off season and all learn the same thing at the same time. NHL have professional Ref's as compared to the college and other leagues out there. Of course the league would have to know what they were doing too. Maybe some refs took one clinic and others took another a month later when the league changed things??

I don't think we the fans will ever really know. If the refs in the big league can't get on the same page so the game can be enjoyed, how in the world will the small satellite leagues be able to be any better where the refs are part time and probably a lot of them haven't had the clinics yet.

The refs are shooting for the same thing the players are - the championships. If you're the best ref in the league then you'll be in the running to ref the big game.

Maybe time will explain this all to the fans??? NOT

Dipsy D. said...

Hmmm... both your thoughts were very interesting for me to read - thank you! - and well, considering the fact that a "clinic" over here means something like a mental institution, I agree with Barbp, all the refs should have to go there in the off-season ;)))

Okay, bad jokes apart, that's the obvious difference between the NHL and our little league, our refs are neither professional ones nor do they have to be "good refs" to be able to get into the championships - we have way too less refs over here, so even the really bad ones have to be kept as hardly any others will be around to do the job.
It's a bit of a relief for me to see that yours over there are also freaking out at times and penalizing way more than they should - I hope ours here let the game loose again just a bit more, otherwise they'll ruin every fun the fans ever had... I'm getting sick and tired of neverending powerplays... :(

twig said...

I like the calls when they're in the Rangers' favor. Not so much when it's not. Of course, I'm still miffed about that goal that was waved off when it shouldn't have been.