I just saw the hit Toronto’s Ryan Hollweg laid on Blues rookie defenceman Alex Pietrangelo. It got Hollweg a 5 minute boarding major and the 2 goals the Blues scored were the biggest part of their come from behind win over Toronto.
It also gives all of us who are not in favor the instigator rule more fuel for the fire. I am absolutely not in favor of more fighting in the NHL. Especially the hopelessly boring staged fights between enforcers who play 4 minutes a game and simply meet the other team’s enforcer, they fight, they go to the box and the game goes on. That is a huge waste of time.
I do believe that the natural emotion of this game will always bubble over into legitimate fights in the heat of the battle between 2 players who care deeply and compete with all their being. Those fights would happen even if fighting was completely banned because things do get that heated in hockey.
I know to many this will make me sound like a caveman, but I also believe in “visits”. I believe that player’s actions on the ice would again be tempered if they had any true fear that someone would come to visit them for their mis-deeds. That was part of the code of this game that helped protect star players and it’s a part of this game which the instigator rule has changed for the worse.
Ryan Hollweg is one of (but not the only) poster child for the ineffectiveness of the instigator rule and supplementary discipline. Thus far no sanctions the NHL has imposed on Hollweg in the past have caused him to change the truly dangerous and illegal way he plays. The price a team and player may pay to make him physically suffer for his actions is too high. The suspensions and possible lost games due to the penalties a player and team must take to track down and punish Hollweg are simply too high in a league where parity means a lost game in October really can mean you miss the playoffs in April.
Ryan Hollweg’s willingness to hit people from behind would be severely tested if he knew someone might try to break his jaw each time he tried to run someone from behind. As we all know there is no need for Hollweg to play with that fear in today’s game. Again no one will come to visit him because the price for those who come knocking is higher than the price Hollweg will pay for doing it in the first place. That is a very dangerous policy for the rest of the players in the league to live with.
See you at the rink.