Thursday, October 13, 2005

Open season between the pipes

Martin Brodeur is speaking out, the new NHL has made the start of the season an open season on those that guard the nets for NHL teams. Brodeur says its only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt as players crash the net without fear, or stand in the crease with no fear of retribution.

New rules this year restrict the goaltenders from taking matters into their own hands, no more slashes on the back of the neck, nor cross checks to get brazen forwards out of the crease area. In fact things are so easy for forwards these days, that running over the goaltender seems to be a strategic move in the new NHL. Brodeur was taken out on Thursday night by the Ranger Jed Ortmeyer, fortunately the transgression did not go unpunished, as Ortmeyer was penalized for goaltender interference. However, it seems the enforcement of the rule is handled in a few and far between mode.

With scoring up dramatically and the speed of the game increasing from it's occasionally lethargic ways of a couple of years ago, many probably don't want to see much change at the moment. But since the goaltenders have already had their equipment sizes clawed back and their puck handling days brought to an end, they may be feeling just a little bit under the gun from the NHL rule makers.

Brodeur first vented his frustrations in Le Journal de Montreal earlier this week and his comments have caught the ear of the NHL off ice officials. There is an expectation that the NHL traveling officials will be watching the play in front of the crease much more closely over the next few weeks. If it's determined that the players are showing a lack of respect for the goaltenders and their crease then changes may come.

For Brodeur his comments to the papers may prove to have been the best thing he could have done. In fact in this case, it could be that the pen is mightier than the lumber.

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