NHL faceoffs could look a little different this season.
Officials have been cracking down on faceoff violations during the preseason, with penalties being called against players who commit two infractions on the same draw. This isn’t sitting well with some across the NHL, including Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, who ripped the new clampdown Tuesday after practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
“This faceoff rule is an absolute joke,? Marchand told reporters, per WEEI.com. ?That?s how you ruin the game of hockey, by putting that in there. They?re gonna have to do something about that because we can?t play this year like that.”
The NHL seemingly is trying to limit how much forwards “cheat” in the faceoff circle, with plenty of penalties called this preseason on centers whose skates go past the hashmarks before the puck is dropped. It also appears the NHL is making a concerted effort to eliminate slashing to the hands and sticks while also regulating when wingers jump into the play once the puck is dropped.
Fair aspirations? Maybe. But Marchand is among those concerned about the way the league is changing its rules in an attempt to facilitate a certain style of play.
?It seems like every year they?re making huge changes, and I know they?re trying to add a little more offense to the game and make it a little more exciting, but you don?t want to ruin the game, and that?s frustrating for everyone,? Marchand said, per WEEI.com. ?I know a lot of people that I?ve spoken to over the last few days have stopped watching games because it?s so been so annoying dealing with the new changes. You can make changes and try to better the game, but you can?t put (rules) in that ruin it.?
In other words, the art of the faceoff — and the ensuing battle for the puck — could take a huge hit if the NHL’s initial crackdown lingers into the regular season.
“We might as well start throwing D-men in there to take draws,” Marchand said.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images