Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NHL Power Play Tournament News

I was browsing my copy of “The 75th Anniversary of the NHL” and discovered that the 1933 Stanley Cup Final was decided 1-0 in overtime when the Rangers scored with a two-men advantage. Today, this result is, of course, the secret fantasy of the people currently running the NHL product into the ground.

Despite the Flyers handling their archrival, this hockey is horrible to watch. The past three games there have been almost fifty minor penalties called. That is right- almost fifty- and practically none of the off-setting kind. In the two games in Philadelphia, the teams have traded 29 power plays. And this is not a chippy, emotional series. How could it be? Everything is a potentially game-changing foul.

The Devils have been dominated: zero goals at even strength in the last two games. But that simply doesn’t matter in the NHL Power Play Tournament- as they managed to hang in, and had a chance to steal Game 3, by scoring three power play goals (including a 5 on 3 last night during an incredible stretch of three minor penalties called on Philadelphia in 3:02).

Kerry Frasers' last NHL game was the Flyers-Rangers' tilt that sent Philadelphia to the play-offs. It was a fun game with a lot of scraps and emotion- where Fraser was not part of the story. We can’t have that, can we? Fraser couldn’t get a play-off assignment??? But the four league toadies calling stick fouls right and left the past two games know the ticket to advancement in the NHL Power Play Tournament is to keep character teams (i.e. all teams without European Stars! or Crosby!) like the Flyers and Devils parading to the box.

The NHL is the only pro League where the best play was twenty years ago- not today. And this nonsense is why.

Plus, if you are going to call a game this tight- you need to get right, like the NFLofficals calling holding penalties right. And let’s face it, that sort of repeatable competence is not the NHL. Players are diving all over the place, a culture bred by tick-tack fouls being endlessly rewarded.

I watch the Devil’s feed here- and Doc Emrick was showing once again why he is the voice of hockey and in the Hall of Fame. He was wondering aloud about the state of play in the NHL- backed up by Ken Daneyko, a worthy elder statesmen, who was just killing the officials.

It is a bad, bad show. Sigh, at least the Flyers are winning.

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