The McDonald's Filet-o-Fish commercial bombarding Pittsburgh Penguins broadcasts has turned into their version of the Rally Monkey according to LCS Hockey's Michael Dell.
The Filet O Fish Hardcore Remix takes it up a notch. This might be what it sounds like inside Rudy K's head 24-7.
[Update] Mike Chen and I were on a conference call with Versus television analyst Brian Engblom yesterday. Engblom's answers to my questions are up here. Mike asked him about a couple of good topics also.
[Q] We always debate officiating down the stretch and in the playoffs. How do you feel the level of officiating has been, and do consider letting the players play as not calling the penalties to keep play going, or do you prefer strict rule enforcement to prevent clutching and grabbing?
[BE] I prefer strict rule enforcement as far as clutching and grabbing, that is really part of the game that dragged us down prior to the lockout, and that has been the biggest improvement in the overall quality of the game since we came out of it. It was a great idea, a great way to reenforce the rules. It gets the Crosby's, and Ovechkin's and Staal's, and all the star players, that is what people come to see. That is what they want to see on television. That was being lost because they had to fight through things that just shouldn't have been there.
I am totally in favor of having the clutching and grabbing being taken out of the game. The game is being played at a terrific level now, it is very entertaining when we get to see these guys accomplish what they are supposed to accomplish. Having said that, every sport, it doesn't matter if it is football or whatever. The NHL is the most difficult for referees to handle because the speed and constancy of the game. In football you have 1 play and it is over. Hockey can go on for 5, 6, 7 or 8 minutes at a time without a whistle. A lot of stuff goes on, and a lot of players come and go. There are a lot of body contacts and interchanges between players. The puck changes hands 20, 30 times between players. It is really difficult for them.
It is a moving, living part of the game that teams just have to deal with. Of course there have been mistakes. There have been mistakes this year, there have been mistakes every year and some of them are critical to teams. In the Detroit game last night, the Hossa goal, it was unfortunate. When you look at it, the puck was obviously open and free, and the goal should have counted. It is part of the game, it is not the referee's fault. They have to call those situations all the time. He was behind the goaltender at such and angle that he couldn't see that the puck was free. They make that call I don't know how many times in that game, and in other games. It's the right call.
This one turned out to be unfortunate. It obviously was a drastic consequence for the Detroit Red Wings. There are other examples, Pittsburgh was unhappy with the Ovechkin goal right off the faceoff after the Malkin penalty. They thought it was interference. I could see that as well too. You could pull out a ton of them. There is a high stick there, a punch there. Should this guy have gotten suspended. It's tough, and it's complicated.
The players blow off steam and bite their tongues, and so do the coaches, and say we can only complain so far. That's the way sports are. You have to be a big boy about it and continue on.
[Q] There was a report about the competition committee being very close to recommending 4-on-4 play in overtime after 1 OT playoff period. Even if the competition committee passes this, do you see this being approved by the NHLPA or the board of govenors?
[BE] That is a tough question. I don't know. I am kind of glad they are going in that direction after 1 period or 2 (OT) periods at least. I would definitely be in favor of it. I go back over some overtime games over the last few years and I think it loses something when it goes on too long. The wear and tear on the players is really dramatic too.
I would be fine with it after 2 periods, I guess I would be fine with it after 1 overtime period too. The drama of 4-on-4, and the wide open hockey we get I think would be great. Whether or not it is going to pass right away? I don't know. Sometimes these things get turned down and then the more you think about it, it is a political thing almost. People who like it or don't like it discuss it a lot. It either builds momentum or it loses it.
I think the NHL has been very innovative since the lockout, in coming out with the changes that they made, and to follow it up with this. I think this is probably more of a progressive attitude, or more of a willing attitude to change since the lockout. I wouldn't doubt that this could go through.
Wear and tear on players is dramatic, but also interest too. By the time a game gets to the third overtime, I start going this is great and the drama is wonderful but someone has to score here. There is only so much time people have to donate to a game. That's my opinion. Others would say I would watch for 8 hours, this is great. I think most people would reach a point they would say let's get a winner here. That's why I think the 4-on-4 opens things up, and I think you would see results more quickly in that situation.