The National Hockey League has made the decision to strongly police the slashing that goes on in it's league and this has led to widespread criticism from both players and fans alike.
Due to the negative press the crack down on slashing has received, we began to wonder what prompted the NHL to suddenly put much more emphasis on a rule that has been around for years and two events stand out clearly in our minds.
The first is an injury to Calgary Flames superstar Johnny Gaudreau, arguably the Flames most popular player. Gaudrau suffered a fractured finger in a game where a huge number of slashes delivered to his hands went uncalled, and the outrage in Calgary following that incident was palpable. If you don't know what we are referencing you can see a compilation of the slashes below, one that a Flames fan set to a rather hilarious choice of music.
However players get injured by slashes all the time, suffer hand injuries due to slashes all the time in fact, so we don't believe that the Gaudreau incident would be enough to warrant the newly-found focus on slashing. We believe that Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby may be the catalyst for the change.
Fans will remember the gruesome scene that was caused when Sidney Crosby delivered a slash to the hand of Ottawa Senators defenseman Marc Methot. Methot removed his glove after the slash revealing that the tip of his finger was barely hanging on to his hand, an image so gory that it gained widespread attention, even outside of hockey.
If you somehow missed it at the time, here's how it went down:
Could this be what prompted the focus on slashing calls?
While we can certainly understand the frustration that many are feeling regarding the seemingly non-stop penalties being called, hopefully it will settle down as players control their sticks better, and hopefully it leads to fewer injuries.