Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Myth Buster

... Kara Yorio herself.

Myth 1: There's no hitting anymore.

The NHL has not outlawed hitting. (Please, it can't even get rid of dirty hits; guys continue to leave their feet or throw a high elbow.) This is still a contact sport. Yes, fighting has decreased, crosschecking is rare and a lot of contact along the walls and in the corners has been limited. There's no denying that. But there still are hits to be had. Good, hard checks -- on open ice and along the boards.

The problem lies with the in-between, the bumping and jostling, the inevitable physical contact when players fight for the puck. This incidental contact now brings whistles. Because of that, players are hesitant to even try to land a real hit most of the time. Those who try usually go unpenalized -- appropriately so. Bump an opponent lightly, though, and you're likely going to end up in the box for interference. Referees call holding when there is no discernible pause in play. They call hooking when the stick brushes an opponent. The clutching and grabbing had gotten too extreme. Now, the penalty calling is too extreme.

To the complainers, though, this is largely the game you pined for five years ago. The clutching and grabbing is gone. The dirty stick work has subsided. You got what you wanted, with the slight twist of getting too many nitpicky penalties. But you have to give a little to get a little. Enjoy what you've gotten back: speed, skill, goals and offensive superstars.
See Kara bust some more myths >>> here.

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