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11-21-2003, 12:05 PM
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CFOB…to answer your second question first…I have been posting on message boards for 7 years or so. In that time, I have written dozens and dozens of posts about the way games are called. I have consistently advocated calling the game by the rules instead of the rules within the rules and I will continue to do so. However, one can not stay upset for years upon end. If I allowed myself to get upset about every uncalled obstruction call I see, I would get no joy out of watching hockey. And Forsberg, even pulling a couple of skiers, is a joy to watch.

Now as to how changes could be made…I think you nailed it when you said ‘the system is unwilling to accommodate a change’. Until that willingness exists, nothing is going to change. It doesn’t matter if you have one ref or two, or if you put a half dozen upstairs, if the mandate to enforce the rules does not exist, everything else is cosmetic.

I do not expect a quick fix. The refs are products of the ‘let the (slow, unskilled, rule-breaking but not the skilled) players play’. It is going to be a tough adjustment for them if the NHL ever decided to enforce the rules. I am encouraged that more and more people are coming around to my point of view. More people are saying the refs should call the game by the rules instead of ‘managing’ it. Fewer and fewer people defend the practice of calling the game differently in different period or different times of the year. A few are actually beginning to believe that calling the same number of penalties on each side isn’t really fair.  And almost everyone is complaining about the inconsistency of the officiating.

I do not look for anything to change until after the new CBA. But I am hopeful that, at that time, the NHL will realize that they have to improve the product if they are going to win back all the fans who will have been put off by the shortened/lost season.

Until then, I am going to enjoy this hockey season in spite of the fools that run the NHL. I will marvel at the great plays and the great players and I will cheer for the rookies and those who give everything every shift. I will overlook a whole bunch of hooks, holds, and trips even though I think the game would be far more exciting and entertaining if the skilled players were not illegally stopped from taking off on an end-to-end rush. I will overlook a few dives as well because I will have seen uncalled infractions that the diver has been subjected to. I will not allow my eye to notice only the things that drive me nuts…and if that starts to happen, I will walk away from hockey for a few days until I regain my perspective. It is only a game.

wazee is offline