Observations from The Couch – December 6 @ Penguins

Let me first plead with the NHL to get rid of the corner rule, aka the Anti-Brodeur Act of 2007. I was noticing that goalies today in the NHL all play the puck a lot more than what was originally anticipated back when the league was formed in 1917. So now we have these corners in which the goalies cannot play the puck. The solution, they all play the puck in front of the goal lines, making the rule in essence inert. Get rid of it, it’s just dumb.

The Wife’s comment: “The league just likes to see more lines painted on the ice.” I agree.

Second, officials, I begs of you, stop sucking. I try to be objective and I am finding more and more calls against and for the Devils are extremely questionable. For example, shoving someone down who is standing in front of you who has the puck is not interference if the subsequently lose the puck. Interference, by league definition, is an infraction on someone who does not have possession. If he does and the play causes him to lose the puck, it’s a good play, not interference.

Lastly on my NHL tirade, league: we need some direction on what can and cannot be done to goalies. Running in to them after making a shot on net, I think is goalie interference. Today, it appears as if it is a normal play. Also, hitting a goalie in the crease should always be goalie interference. I am of the belief that if a goalie steps outside the crease to play the puck, he’s fair game. I know some goalie purists my not believe in me, but I think a line needs to be drawn and the line around the blue paint of the crease seems like a good start to me.

Now on to the Devils. Guys, I see some issues here, and well start with two basic ones. First, learn to get the puck out of our end. All too often I see the Devils with simple fundamental flaw that occurs and reoccurs – they just can’t clear their own zone. Whether they are playing a team with good forechecking or not, they find themselves stuck in their end even when even strength. Obviously their penalty kill could benefit from this skill as well.

And number two, fellows, you need to learn the opposite as well – learn to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Defense is something most teams today are good at, and dump and run in after it is not always the way to go. It may work once or twice but we need to learn how to make smart passes in to the offensive zone and how to keep consistent pressure on the opposing team in their end.

To me, and I may not be alone on this, sounds like coaching, but the Devils have needed this direction for a while and we’ve had a different coach behind the bench nearly every season – nearly.

Tonight the Devils took on the Pittsburgh Penguins. And don’t think the Penguins are free from some advice…

Sid, you – against my advice – are the face of the NHL. Being the face of the NHL, your face should look presentable. The mustache is not. The League of Mustache Aficionados want you shave that thing off. I use the term “thing” as loosely as possible. Also, Penguins, if you don’t want people calling Sid a baby, lose the baby boy blue uniforms. Trust me. You may actually earn an ounce of respect from other NHL fans.

Perhaps I’m just bitter. Maybe the Devils continued poor performance is making me jaded. But as the title implies, these are just some observations from the couch I felt worth pointing out.

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