Instigating Change

Eric over at Off Wing has a great post up today about the effectiveness of the current instigator rule (which, contrary to popular belief, was in place prior to the beginning of Gary Bettman's tenure as Commish).

The post is written in the context of Brendan Shanahan's outburst last night regarding the perceived reverse-star treatment that Jaromir Jagr gets from NHL referees, and contains a lot of food for thought, including a lengthy excerpt from an article by former Cap (and Harvard grad) Neil Sheehy.

But what I find somewhat ironic is that Shanny was on the rules committee (or whatever they called themselves) that actually strengthened the instigator rule after the lockout. Had the League done away with the rule at that time (i.e. if all the plumbers supposedly taking their cheap shots at poor Jaromir could be dispensed with by, say, Colton Orr without fear of an extra penalty) maybe Shanahan et. al. wouldn't have to rely on the referees to make sure Jagr had adequate space on the ice.

Update: Caps Nut has a good post following up on this issue with some interesting pre-last night quotes from Shanny. Basically, he was against obstruction penalties before he was for them. Quoth Shanny:
There is nothing in the rule book that says if one player touches another player with his stick, it's two minutes for hooking. There's nothing in the rule book that says if one player touches another player with his hand, it's two minutes for holding.... We would rather have a missed call than a phantom call.
Well, Brendan, they missed some last night. Happy? No?

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