NHL counts 60 to 110 slashes per playoff game, vows to crack down

Kyle Brodziak of the St. Louis Blues gets a 2 minute penalty for slashing P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators in Game One of the Western Conference Second Round. Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images

It doesn’t take a sharp eye to see that the NHL follows two different sets of rules depending on the time of the year – one for the regular season and one for the playoffs. As soon as the playoffs begin, NHL officials have a habit of putting their whistles away while allowing more slashes, cross-checks and other types of hits which usually draw a whistle during the regular season.

How big is the slashing problem during playoff games? Probably a lot worse than hockey fans even thought was possible.

According to Colin Campbell, the NHL’s Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations, the league studied four playoff games and found between 60 and 110 missed slashes per game.

That means the league’s officials are going to be calling things tighter when it comes to slashes in 2017-18.

That doesn’t mean every single instance would have received a penalty, but it shows there’s a huge problem currently in the NHL. There’s probably a large number of missed slashes in the regular season too, but with officials calling games tighter in those regular season games, players seem less likely to “hack and whack” as often as they do in the playoffs.

Why did the NHL let things get to this point? The league has a massive officiating problem on its hands, ranging from consistency between officials and games as well as how many slashes (among other types of penalties) are going uncalled. That’s not new information. The eye test alone could indicate there’s a problem, but apparently it took an ugly 2016-17 postseason to get the league to act.

How can the NHL correct this issue? There are a couple avenues the league could take, but only one option will prove to be effective. That option is to immediately call a stricter game in 2017-18. Call a ton of penalties if necessary until players figure out that they can’t get away with all of the slashes. It may not be pretty in the early going, but it’ll be the only way to get players to change their game.

Yardbarker: NHL

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