The NHL preseason has come with an apparent crackdown on faceoff violations. The opening 24 minutes of Monday’s Maple Leafs-Senators contest had three penalties for violations at the dot. Same for last night’s meeting between Devils and Capitals. The Rangers-Islanders game featured one minor called for this infraction, as did the Bruins-Canadiens game up in Quebec City (the call, by the way, went against the Bruins). And the violations, which range from failing to lineup properly to playing the puck by hand upon its drop, are whistled when there’s two infractions on the same draw. And Bruins winger Brad Marchand, still a preseason spectator, is clearly not a fan. “This faceoff rule is an absolute joke,” Marchand said after Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “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. “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 continued. “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.” The rule itself is nothing new, of course, but rather part of a change that’s come with faceoff violations being called more frequently in an effort to prevent teams from ‘cheating’ in the case of faceoffs. (Slashes to hands and sticks are also going to be called more than ever, too, at least if the first week of the preseason is any indication.) “There’s obviously an initiative out there to kind of get rid of all the shenanigans that go on before the draw,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy acknowledged after the morning skate. “[There is] certainly some gamesmanship there that we’re gonna have to find, and I think the fine line of allowing guys to at least get in there, because it is the original battle of every play, so there’s gonna be a little bit of digging in.” Linesmen essentially want to see centers keep their skates behind the hashmarks, and want to see restraint (“pause”) from wingers when it comes to jumping into the play.
Brad Marchand rips NHL crackdown on faceoffs: 'It's an absolute joke'
WEEI Boston | Sep 19