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Player Poll: How has obstruction held up?

1/27/2006

The Hockey News asked 29 NHLers: "Has there been a slip in the obstruction crackdown compared to the first month of the season?"

No -- 17 players (59 percent)
Yes -- 12 (41 percent)

"[The refs] remind us every week or two about it and you can tell that they're getting reminders themselves," Dallas captain Mike Modano said. "I feel pretty good about it. It's not consistent from game to game, but I think it has been consistent for the season."

Phoenix forward Boyd Devereaux said players now know what to expect. "You still know if you get your stick up you are going to the box and I think people have a pretty good idea what a penalty is."

New Jersey sniper Brian Gionta said standards have relaxed a bit, thankfully. "They cracked down so much the first month that it was hard to know what you could get away with. Now you can battle for the puck."

Here are the results from each team. Some respondents asked to remain anonymous.

Anaheim Mighty Ducks
Yes: "It's not the same as the first month. In the first month, refs wanted to call more than less, so guys would learn. It's still pretty good, but it's not what it was." -- Teemu Selanne

Boston Bruins
No: "I think they've called it pretty consistently. They still call the penalties. Some referees call more than others, but it's been like that all year. They're still calling them" -- Marco Sturm

Buffalo Sabres
Yes -- Ales Kotalik

Calgary Flames
Yes: "I think a little, but they're still calling it more than in the past. It's slacked off from the beginning of the year, but I think they're finding that happy medium." --Darren McCarty

Carolina Hurricanes
No: "There was, but not now. They stayed with the obstruction, but they did let up on some of those gray-area calls. It's back now." -- Erik Cole

Chicago Blackhawks
No: "Maybe a little, but I don't think it's enough to alter my game or anyone's game. I think they're using a little more discretion, which is good." -- Duncan Keith

Colorado Avalanche
No: "I don't think so. There might not be quite as many calls, but I think that's because guys are more used to what to expect, what they can and can't get away with." -- Rob Blake

Columbus Blue Jackets
Yes: "But only slightly.'' -- Anonymous

Dallas Stars
No: "They [the refs] remind us every week or two about it and you can tell that they're getting reminders themselves. I feel pretty good about it. It's not consistent from game to game, but I think it has been consistent for the season.'' -- Mike Modano

Detroit Red Wings
No: "I still think they're trying to call it tight. I thought for the first 10 games, they were real strict, and then they kind of let up a little bit. As of late, I think they've been trying to follow the rule book more.'' -- Nicklas Lidstrom

Edmonton Oilers
Yes: "Absolutely.'' -- Ethan Moreau

Florida Panthers
No -- Anonymous

Los Angeles Kings
No -- Joe Corvo

Minnesota Wild
No: "I think there was a lull there for a few weeks, but they seem to be calling it pretty tight again." -- Alex Henry

Montreal Canadiens
No: "Not really. It's been pretty consistent. Things change with different referees and you see some different calls. But, overall, it has been quite consistent." -- Saku Koivu

Nashville Predators
No -- Kimmo Timonen

New Jersey Devils
Yes: "I think a little bit, but I don't think it's a bad thing. They cracked down so much the first month that it was hard to know what you could get away with. Now you can battle for the puck." -- Brian Gionta

New York Islanders
Yes: "There has been a slip, especially around the net." -- Anonymous

New York Rangers
Yes: "Changes from game to game, referee to referee." -- Anonymous

Ottawa Senators
Yes: "It seems like guys are getting away with a lot more." -- Anonymous

Philadelphia Flyers
No: "I think the players are picking up [understanding] the hooking and holding, so you don't see them called as much. It's hard to find consistency." -- Mike Richards

Phoenix Coyotes
No: "I don't think there has been much of a slip. You still know if you get your stick up, you are going to the box and I think people have a pretty good idea what a penalty is." -- Boyd Devereaux

Pittsburgh Penguins
No: "I think they've been very consistent, and it took the players a while to get used to it." -- Sergei Gonchar

St. Louis Blues
No: "There's still a lot of complaining about calls, so that means they're still calling it. And they're still calling it in overtime." -- Scott Young

San Jose Sharks
Yes: "Especially along the boards in battles for the puck. Holding is allowed. And look what happens to Joe [Thornton] behind the net." -- Nils Ekman

Tampa Bay Lightning
Yes: "I won't say all referees, but there are enough to make it really inconsistent.'' -- Tim Taylor

Toronto Maple Leafs
Yes: "But that's not a bad thing. The first couple of weeks of the season were brutal." -- Anonymous

Vancouver Canucks
Yes -- Mattias Ohlund

Washington Capitals
No: "Maybe there are fewer calls, but more than anything it's the players learning to play under the new rules." -- Brian Sutherby

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