The final change is, like the face-off infraction, just an emphasis. It is not a new rule. The NHL wants more slashing calls. They want it to be easier for players, specifically the highly skilled players, to have fewer impediments before getting to the net. Stick-checking has always been one of those roadblocks.
defencemen, or anyone playing the man with the puck, use stick-checking as a way to put pressure on a skater. The more he can smack his stick on the opposing player, the less room that skater has to work with. It has always been done. As long as there is no sweeping tomahawk swinging of the stick, it has been legal. Well, not anymore. The League is cracking down. The referees are instructed to call more slashing penalties, as per George Parros.
Essentially, this new enforcement can be compared to when the NBA decided to eliminate the “hand-check” on defense. A defensive player can not reach out his hand to keep the offensive player from moving laterally. They can barely even breath on the opponent anymore. Fouls were called left and right. And so, the offense was given a major advantage because of this.
So, how has this played out in the NHL so far? Let’s dive in.