Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Parade to the penalty box...expected until players learn and adapt

A high number of penalties were called across the NHL in the first
weekend of action, but will the the strict enforcement of rules stick
throughout the season?

(CP) -- Colin Campbell wasn't surprised at all to see steady traffic
to and from the penalty boxes in the opening games of the NHL

The league's director of hockey operations says it will take time for
players to adapt to a crackdown on hooking, holding and other fouls
that the NHL hopes will bring more offence and excitement to the

"It's like we expected," Campbell said Monday. "You have a culture
that's been ingrained for years.

"We don't know when it started, but the acceptance of so much hooking
and holding will take a while to get out of the psyche. Even if
they're told beforehand, people still tend to do it."

A total of 37 penalties were called in the Montreal Canadiens' 3-2 win
over the Atlanta Thrashers on Sunday night and 26 were handed out in
the Ottawa Senators' 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Similarly high totals were seen across the league in the first weekend
of pre-season matches.

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