I'm looking for some clarification here. All you hockey bloggers and hockey fans, help me out.
In yesterday's pre-season opener, Martin Erat was penalized for interference. David Vborny was injured on the play (he'll be out "2-3 days"). According to the way the refs called the game (and this article) there can be or should be (still not clear on if it is discretion or mandated) a major penalty and game misconduct if an injury occurs as a result of the interference.
I have a huge issue with this, especially as it played out last night and in the Nashville series against San Jose last year.
In my understanding, historically an "injury" has been determined to occur when a player draws blood. There was no blood drawn yesterday, and rarely in the San Jose series. Yet we had players thrown out of games and suspended because an "injury" occurred - even when said injury was not severe enough to keep the opposing player off the ice.
But here's why i have the biggest problem with this: If the same action is committed by a player, and in one case there is an injury caused, in another case there isn't, the penalty for the action should be the same. By determining the severity of the penalty based on the offended players reaction, you are taking control out of the refs hands and putting it in the hands of players. Never a good idea.
The NHL has an issue with diving right now as it is. Since the refs are calling games tighter (which i like, by the way), many players are learning that they can dive and get a call, much more than they used to. Now with this injury change, i could easily see a 4th liner go out, wait to get hit by a star player, go down with an "injured" knee, and the star gets tossed. The 4th liner doesn't come back out, maybe he does. Makes no difference. Conversely - there may be a nasty penalty committed that doesn't injure the player (because of luck, better conditioning, whatever).
Of course, i'd love to be more informed on this, but the NHL's website hasn't listed any changes to the rule book this year (still says "New for 05-06!" in several places). The article in the Globe and Mail cites Rule 56 as dealing with the change to the interference call, but Rule 56 in the official book deals with fighting and instigating, and never mentions interference at all.
In other Predators news...pictures!
(note the new sponsor logo and name-change):
(bad picture - i'll hopefully take better ones myself soon):
I can live with it - not as good as i hoped, but it'll work: