New York Islanders Dont Stress About Faceoff and Slashes

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 27: Anders Lee
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 27: Anders Lee /

We witnessed the NHL’s direction with slashing and faceoff calls during the New York Islanders preseason game against the New York Rangers. Don’t worry it won’t always be like this.

The second period of the New York Islanders game against the New York Rangers was terrible. Penalties flew left-right and center. In the second 20 minute portion of the game, a total of nine penalties were called. Of those nine, four were slashing calls while one was a faceoff violation.

Remember, the league is looking to stamp out faceoff infractions and slashing infractions. Both of which are already covered in the NHL rulebook. For stick fouls look no further than Rule 61.1 and for face-offs see Rule 76.7. The NHL just wants to make sure they’re being properly enforced.

But why? Why these rules and why does it matter? Because the sheer volume of penalties being doled out is hard to stomach. And its only the preseason.

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Slashing: Sidney, Marc, and Pinky Fingers

Slashing happens a thousand times a game. It’s just part of the game. It’s all fun and games until someone loses a finger. On March 23 Ottawa Senators welcomed the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Canadian Tire Center. And as Senators defender skated the puck out of his zone Sidney Crosby decided he wasn’t having it. And slashed at his hands.

Again, it happens a thousand times a game. But this time, Methot shook his hand and revealed a bloody hand. Turns out the slash chopped off the top of his pinky finger.

There was no penalty on the play. Crosby faced no extra discipline for the play. Much to the chagrin of the hockey public as Crosby seemed to get away with another one. Not this season though.

Refs are cracking down hard on stick infractions thankfully. I know its tedious right now, but would you rather go through this during the regular season when games matter? Or in the preseason when talent evaluation is the casualty? Take your pick. You can’t say “neither” because this is happening.

And you know what. This is a good thing for the New York Islanders too. Remember Kessler doing his best Lumberjack impression on Tavares back in October of last year?

Faceoff Fouls

And then there are the faceoff fouls. Again, something that happens a number of times in a game that is under-enforced. After two fouls a penalty is given for delay of game. And the league wants to stamp this out. For whatever reason.

It sucks now, but players are going to get used to it and adjust. In speaking to media after a game Boston Bruin’s Brad Marchand spoke on how the rule…displeased him.

"“This faceoff rule is an absolute joke,” the Boston Bruins winger said on Tuesday. “That’s how you ruin the game of hockey, by putting that in there. They’re gonna have to do something about that because we can’t play this year like that.”"

Marchand later added that he just can’t move. Which is the rule, wingers aren’t supposed to jump in there before the puck hits the ice. He learned the lesson.

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It’s not great right now. I know. But it will get better. Players will adapt and then we’ll see what this enforcement of rules that already exist does to the game. I’d have to think this will open up chances with fewers stick fouls occurring when a player blows his defensive coverage. And cleaner faceoffs should lead to better offensive zone chances. But we’ll see. If neither happen as a result of the enforcement then its time to reconcinder. Not before.