Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Rules on Holding Displease Nhl Players

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Rules on Holding Displease Nhl Players

Article excerpt

In general, the players are not pleased by the National Hockey League's most recent rule crackdown on neutral-zone restraining.

But that doesn't matter. The changes weren't imposed for the players; they were imposed for the fans. And on that front, the new approach has to be a roaring success.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, for instance, produced two back-to-back crowd-pleasers on the weekend. From the players' perspective, the reviews were mixed. They won 3-1 in Winnipeg and lost 3-2 in Calgary. But at no other time this year have the Leafs played such entertaining hockey in successive games.

In some ways, the players have a point. Doug Gilmour, for instance, said he felt it was extremely unfair to expect players to change an accepted style in midseason. Not long ago, the man who imposed the crackdown, NHL vice-president Brian Burke, said exactly the same thing. In New York, during the all-star break, Burke said, "A major change in midseason is not equitable."

He went on to say "the defensive style has produced one of the great stories of the year," a reference to the success of the expansion teams.

Obviously, however, the general managers managed to sway Burke when they met in Florida last week and the change was imposed, equitable or not. Another Toronto forward, Glenn Anderson, said he considered the crackdown to be "a little ridiculous," even though it should help him to utilize his speed.

Anderson, however, is concerned with the overall future of the game.

"It goes towards more of a European style which takes away from the NHL style," he said.

"I don't think it's good for the game in the long run."

Toronto defenseman Jamie Macoun was concerned about potential injuries. He feels that if the defenders aren't allowed to impede the forecheckers, then they will bear down on the defensemen with a head of steam and perhaps make the NHL's injury problem even worse.

All three players make valid points. However, with some decent supervision, their concerns can be addressed. …

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