Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Consistency lacking in enforcement of instigator rule

The one thing players say they want most from on-ice officials is consistency. That is why two calls last week, both of which went against the Lightning, are worth exploring.

In the first, Toronto's Niklas Hagman jumped Lukas Krajicek after the Tampa Bay defenseman cross-checked him to the ice. In the other, Lightning right wing Steve Downie fought Chris Neil after the Ottawa tough guy creamed defenseman Victor Hedman with a ferocious check.

The difference: Downie was penalized for instigating a fight. Hagman was not. That's no small deal. An instigator penalty carries a two-minute penalty and a 10-minute misconduct. Add five for fighting and you've got 17 penalty minutes.

In other words, the Lightning faced a two-minute penalty against Ottawa and lost a player for almost a period. The Maple Leafs faced no short-handed time for Hagman's actions.

"I think it's still a gray area from ref to ref," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. "Some will give more leeway than others."

No matter what you think of the instigator rule — Tocchet believes it protects "reckless" players "because there's no retribution" — it must be called consistently, considering the effect it has on strategy and personnel moves. The league also mandated that it be strictly enforced, though only 11 such penalties were called this season in the first 218 games, compared with nine last season.

"The refs in Ottawa said the league said … if anyone skates into a confrontation, even without throwing a punch, they were to (call) it," Tocchet said. "In Toronto, we were shocked Hagman never got one."

Tocchet would never tell teammates not to defend each other. He was surprised Downie waited for Neil to get ready for the attack. "Downs did the respect thing. But if you're going to get an instigator, you might as well get the first shot in. It makes no sense to get an instigator and start to fight fair, right?"

That's another problem with the rule, but that is another story.

Consistency lacking in enforcement of instigator rule 11/07/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 7, 2009 8:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    While the Lightning is still trying to bolster its blueline via trade, it selected a big, right shot defenseman Cal Foote at No. 14 overall Friday in the NHL Draft.

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  2. The Lightning's 2017-18 road jersey
  3. For starters: Ramus to DL, Peterson back, no further moves

    Blogs

    We were expecting a flurry of roster moves this afternoon and we got one. OF Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

    Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.
  4. Jameis Winston stats: How the Bucs QB performed under pressure

    Bucs

    Every quarterback's performance declines when he faces pressure from the defense.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston faced pressure on more than 30 percent of his pass plays last season. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Could Lightning deal for a defenseman today?

    Blogs

    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has been trying to further bolster his blueline, and he may have a chance to acquire one by tonight's first round of the NHL Draft.

    The Lightning is reportedly in on Travis Hamonic (Islanders), though New York is rumored to be asking for two-first round picks.