When Did Faceoffs Become a Problem In the NHL? 2
NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 27: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins concentrates on a faceoff in an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on December 27, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. Penguins won 5-2. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is at it again with these ridiculous penalty calls.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred decided it would be a good idea to add time clocks to mound visits by catchers, coaches, whomever. It started a small argument among critics and analysts. Ultimately, however, timing mound visits didn’t change the flow of the game.

It made perfect sense to limit how much a team can elongate a game with no time limit if you really think about it.

As for the NHL, there is no doubting that regulation time is 60 minutes, with only a chance of a five-minute extra period. And if 65 minutes doesn’t do it, there is a shootout designed to end the game within just a handful of breakaways. The NHL didn’t find their method of breaking a tie sufficient enough so they removed a player from each side in the overtime period to make the game nearly impossible to extend past the extra five minutes.

No matter how you look at it, it makes no sense that the NHL is penalizing for face-off violations and calling them “delay of game” penalties. If you look even further into delay of game calls, you’ll see they’re cheap to begin with.

Back in the day, the closest penalty called which could be compared to a delay of game penalty was “too many men on the ice.” It made perfect sense. No team should be able to have six skaters on the ice at any one time. It was never purposeful, and it wasn’t like the coach was trying to pull a quick one on the referees. It was a penalty for miscommunication. No one likes committing the penalty either. It’s embarrassing.

Since the end of the 2004-05 lockout, a player can’t sail the puck clearly over the glass. If its deflected, or somehow manages to graze the glass and still end up in the stands, it’s not a penalty. From tape of the stick, into the hands of a fan is the only way the penalty is called. Why is it a penalty though?

If the NHL decided to raise the glass four inches, that penalty would be committed about a quarter of the time that it is. And really, the only reason that penalty was instituted was to increase scoring.

This asinine penalty follows suit.

For 100 years, the faceoff has been exactly that. An opportunity for a little face-to-face aggression between each team. Throwing a couple elbows here and there and chopping down at each other’s sticks like they were trying to split a log in half has always been a fun aspect of the game. It even led to some fisticuffs, which no matter what commissioner Gary Bettman says, the fans love to see.

What the league is trying to do now is remove all contact between players before the puck is released by the referee. That’s lame. And the players are so unclear on the ins and outs of the violation that the penalty is being called a lot in the preseason.

This is starting to look a lot like one of Bettman’s schemes, isn’t it?

Players and fans alike can only pray that the league cuts the crap before the regular season begins. As amusing as 17 goal games can be, they will lose their value if they become a commonality. Hockey fans like hockey scores, not lacrosse scores.

Let’s let the players play the game the way it should be played in the faceoff circle, shall we?