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Discussion Starter #1
Darren Dreger
12/8/2006 10:33:50 PM

Over the past few weeks a number of NHL coaches and managers have observed what they call a "shift" in how the game is being called.

Some are being even more specific by saying less is being called now than prior to last month's general manager's meeting where the topic was openly discussed.

The braintrust inside the NHL's hockey operations department grimace at the mere suggestion the league is backing off the standard.

Statistically, penalties have declined marginally compared to last year and so has goal scoring, by less than half a goal.

Is this a big deal?

Well, we know the commissioner's office is very sensitive to any level of dip in offence. It's believed Gary Bettman crunches the numbers on a daily basis. But, there have been no directives, or memos sent out to instruct game officials to do anything other than call the standard.

So, why the confusion?

There's no disputing that we're also seeing a greater allowance for man-on-man battles in the areas where it's warranted, in the corners and in front of the net.

Last season, none of that was allowed.

More and more these days we're seeing the big hits. Last night, Jordin Tootoo flattened Aaron Miller with a good clean hockey hit. A year ago, that was a penalty.

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