I've been thinking about this for a long time now. Offense has been plummeting again and many subtle hooks and holds and interference infractions go ignored (in some cases, not so subtle).
I used to complain about this type of thing being incompetence of the refs or inconsistency, but I actually think it is one purpose now. True, there still is a lot of inconsistency between games, which is extremely frustrating, but in general, I'm confident that the refs aren't being asked to call it by the book like they were 10 years ago. Power plays are likely around 50% of what they were back then....which on one hand is good....I hate all offense coming off PPs, but it's only good if the reason is because there are no infractions. You now get left with stars not being about to shine as bright as they can because lesser skilled players are able to hold them back by interfering.
I honestly believe the league made a call here to allow stuff to go uncalled to slow down the play again a bit in the hopes of limiting the head injuries that they have largely blamed on the speed of the game. Concussions are down, but is it because of this or is it because players are getting it and knowing they can't target the head? Probably a bit of both, but I do detest all the non calls that have been seemingly getting more and more.
The top 6 teams in the East are all over 80 points and only 3 teams in the West are at that level. Is this mostly due to more high end and low end teams in East vs. more parity in the West?
For what it's worth, East vs. West games have been almost a dead heat....with the West having a very slightly better win percentage (175-130-42 for East vs. West and 181-140-35 for West vs. East).
Maybe it's just me....but I haven't really noticed any big and scary, consistently dominating West teams yet this year. Nashville is the obvious team to point to (1st overall), but for some reason I just don't see them as dominating....maybe that's just history and I'll just need to get used to it...we'll see.
They lost their 11th game in a row last night, the most ever in team history. And with the Leafs, that's means something since they have quite a long history,,,most losses in a row in the last 100 years.
Edit....the joke was, going into last night's game.....the last time they had lost 10 games in a row was the last year they won the cup.
Anyone hear about this? The Toronto Raptors held a bit of a ceremony on Friday night before their game to honor Nelson Mandela....I didn't see it, but apparently they made a big deal out of it and several big names flew in for it (e.g. Magic Johnson).
Anyway, some of the Maple Leafs came out for the event as well, red carpet type thing. Jonathan Bernier was one of them and he got asked a couple questions that went something like this (not exact words):
Reporter: How important is the legacy of Nelson Mandela to you?
Bernier: Well, he's obviously been a tremendous athlete and has meant so much to sports all over the world. He really showed how the world can be impacted by sports. He's definitely one of the athletes I watched growing up as well.