NHL Quick to Change Rules for Playoffs
If you remember last year in the NBA playoffs, the inflexibility of David Stern resulted in the Phoenix Suns being punished for a rule that was interpreted outside its original intent (most likely). Robert Horry had cheap-shotted Steve Nash, Boris Diaw and Amare left the Suns’ bench, and the entire complexion of the playoff series changed from there. Well on Sunday against the Devils Sean Avery was constantly pestering New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur by waving his stick around in the air only inches from Brodeur’s face. It was stupid, childish, cheap, and it did not represent the way the game is supposed to be played. So what did the NHL do to rectify the situation? They gave the refs the ability to penalize such behavior.
“An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender’s face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play,” [director of hockey operations Colin] Campbell said in statement.
Now that’s how to make an adjustment. David Stern and the NBA should take a cue and learn something here. If the Devils were to lose the series because of Avery’s shenanigans — and every goal counts in playoff hockey — it would be a shame. I’m glad they made amends.