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NM Roundtable: The Crackdown

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We sit down to decide what’s right for the roster, the rule crackdown, and other things!

2017 NHL China Games - Day 3 Photo by Yifan Ding/Getty Images

It’s back and as mediocre as ever! The Nucksmisconduct crew have started this season off by looking at some very timely matters. Namely the impact of the greater enforcement of the obstruction penalties. jimmi.cynic, Kent Basky, Marcus Meyer, OffThePost, and the big fella himself: Yankee Canuck put forth their best efforts to answer the brain straining questions keeping me up at night!

1. The last time that the NHL cracked down on obstruction, it almost doubled special teams time. Is this what what we expect to see this season with the mandate to clean up faceoffs and hooking/slashing?

jimmi.cynic: For the first few minutes of the first periods of the first few games - sure. UNLESS. The NHL TV sales department has promised advertisers a commercial break every 3 minutes - then this crackdown makes perfect cents. And dollars. However, the league has already demanded asked their officials to ease up on the slashing calls. Not going to make it out of the first round of the preseason. Jon Shannon agrees with me (or the other way round...whatever) so the stress is off our powerplay for another decade or so.

YC: I can’t believe I have to agree with this clown. The concept is flawed to start with, coughing up more rules means the application of said rules will inevitably fluctuate, people and players will bark up those inconsistencies and the league will ignore the results because [insert categorically stupid by magnificently headstrong reason here]. I wouldn’t trust this league to play a game of tic-tac-toe that didn’t end with the house on fire much less make the right decision in the interest of the sport.

Kent Basky: I think a lot of this is whining by people whose voices desire to be heard. The stickwork that goes on is pretty awful, and if it takes calling everything to ensure we don’t see Brock Boeser or Bo Horvat suffering the way Johnny Gaudreau did last season, I say bring it on.

OffThePost: I definitely think we’ll be seeing more of the special teams this year than before. We’ll also see an uptick in indignant fan bases and biased referees.

westy99: Good intentions lead to .....um....more complaining. Calling all actual penalties will to a slowing down of the game and different players complaining. This is a no win situation and solution. If more penalties are called this year for and against the Canucks, then this team is screwed as their special teams have sucked.

Markus Meyer: I don’t imagine that we’ll see any excessive special teams time, aside from maybe the first month or so. I think most teams will have already gotten the message and I don’t foresee this being a substantial issue for a long period of time.

2. Put on your Nostradamus caps for a moment: Which team(s) will benefit most from this rule refocus? Who will be most punished by them? Moreover, is this going to help or hurt the Vancouver Canucks?

jimmi.cynic: Vancouver, Edmonton and some of those eastern bastards. Should help us yuuugely, especially if we can persuade Brock to play 45 minutes a game.

YC: Any team with a talented, yet inherently whiny center who will put on a production that would make Andrew Lloyd Webber cringe whenever he feels he’s a victim. So, really, everyone but Vancouver (because I said talented). If anything I expect the Canucks to live on the PK even more now. And who keeps stealing my tinfoil hat around here?!

KB: The teams that benefit the most will be the ones that are able to figure out the work-around before everyone else.

OffThePost: I’m looking into my crystal ball, and I’m seeing a whole lot of defunct power play opportunities and worn out penalty killing units for the Vancouver Canucks.

I don’t think any singular team will benefit or suffer from these rule changes. Instead, everyone will be equally put off by these game changing calls and a mutual hatred of the officials will build up between the fanbases.

westy99: I see western teams like Anaheim and Chicago benefiting from these changes as they tend to whine to the refs the most. Oh....and they have players that can score.

Markus Meyer: I’m not sure who it will help or hurt specifically. It really is just a matter of who can adapt the quickest. It remains to be seen whether or not more power plays would hypothetically help the Canucks, or just make for a painful viewing experience.

3. Is more special teams time going to help or hurt the league’s desire for a more exciting game?

jimmi.cynic: Neither. But could satisfy the league’s desire for more exciting commercials.

YC: The league always wants more goals, just ask any poor goalie who’s now mandated to wear a mankini instead of padding. And yes mankini is a thing and if you google it you only have yourself to blame.

More offense helps the league sell the game to advertisers and the fantasy sports world, more goals mean more potential to be on ESPN and more highlights of guys jumping and slamming into the boards celebrating means more viral media because #generationZ. Do you feel dirty now? You should. Welcome to hell.

KB: Well, as a Canucks fan I am sure I speak for all of us when I say that given the last couple seasons, more power play time seems like the NHL is singling Vancouver out for punishment. I have nightmares about the abomination that the Canucks PP became. But with a new coach, the return of Newell Brown and hopefully some fresh faces, the Canucks PP might once again be something that doesn`t fill us all with dread.

OffThePost: The games will be more exciting but a lot more frustrating for the losing side. We’ll see a lot of late game comebacks when tempers flare and some disappointed coaches because of it.

westy99: I think the games will actually be longer with all the whistles. Sure, you might get more 6-4 games but who wants to watch a 3 1/2 hour hockey game every night. Not me....I need sleep, I’m old.

Markus Meyer: It’s all about balance, but if it’s like the pre-season, it will likely hurt the product. The games become too choppy and lack flow, and it takes the excitement away from a power play. Three or four per team, per game, would be ideal.

4. How much do you think that these new rules impact our roster decisions? Do these new rules mean that an experienced penalty killer on a PTO has an advantage in cracking the opening night roster over a younger player?

jimmi.cynic: That’s a cart too far in front of this horse. Will wait for the new ‘rules’ to become actual rules to see if the impact is for a week or a season.

YC: I don’t think it should, particularly for a new coach in a hungry market. Put the best guys out there and solve the behavior later if it becomes an issues. No one player’s mental mistakes is enough to sink this team, it’ll take all of their collective mistakes to do that by mid February!

KB: So, should we just call it the Derek Dorsett rule then?

OffThePost: I don’t see this impacting roster decisions (at least not publicly). I’m sure we’ll be hearing that the players making the cut earned it, regardless of penalty killing prowess.

westy99: How about a rule for the Nucks, if you take more than one penalty a game you sit for a game? The Sedins might get a few more nights off if that was in place. No player should be a one dimensional type on this team. Except if that dimension is scoring 50 goals.

Markus Meyer: I doubt this will have any substantive impact on roster decisions. As I mentioned above, this seems like a temporary adjustment.

5. It is pretty obvious that Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen are the most talked about players in training camp this year, who else is standing out to you?

jimmi.cynic: Archibald. His poke check on Bart at the Flaming blueline was so beautiful. Only turned less beautiful when his hands betrayed him with the shot on the resulting breakaway. Can we answer this again after a few more games?

YC: I won’t lie to you sexy people, due to living in the middle of no where, I haven’t seen a game yet outside of the highlights. So the most notable things have been no injuries (jinx), our genetically superior Swedish goalies, the Shanghai fog, the moaning about why Burmistrov is here, the lack of moaning why Megna is still here and my secret desire to have Jordan Subban make the team which hasn’t been destroyed yet.

KB: I thought Jalen Chatfield showed some signs he’s ready to make the step to the AHL and a role with the Comets this season.

OffThePost: I’m right next to Kent on the Jalen Chatfield band wagon. It would be great to see another young UFA defenceman acquired for nothing to turn a corner in their development at the perfect time.

westy99: I miss Sbisa being around to talk about. But he is on a better team now....I kid....I hope.

Markus Meyer: I’ll throw my name behind both Chatfield and Archibald. I’ll also add in Evan McEneny, as I think he’s shown very well and I would not mind it at all if he was the team’s 8th defenceman this season.

There ya have it, a bunch of thoughts... do you agree? disagree? Join in the conversation, we’d love to hear what you think about these questions!