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Old 03-18-2007, 06:02 PM   #878
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Default Fighting-in-last-5-minutes rule creates more problems

More on the 5 min instigator

On March 8, Derek Boogaard, wearing stylish eyeglasses and a debonair suit, watched in fear as Wild trainer Don Fuller attended to a dazed Marian Gaborik, who had just been given a rough ride into the boards by Boston defenseman Andrew Ference.

A sore back kept Boogaard, the Wild's enforcer, off the ice that night. At that moment, Boogaard wished he could turn in his suit for a Wild sweater so he could mop the ice with a couple of Bruins.

But in reality, Boogaard's intimidating presence in the lineup would have meant nothing. Ference boarded Gaborik with 2 minutes, 10 seconds left, meaning there was no way Boogaard would have gotten another shift from coach Jacques Lemaire.

Players who instigate a fight in the last five minutes earn a one-game suspension and $10,000 fine for their coach.

That could explain why referee Kerry Fraser did skilled Bruins center Marc Savard a favor by giving him a double minor for jumping, then throwing haymakers at Pavol Demitra, instead of the two minutes for instigating, five-minute major for fighting and 10-minute misconduct Savard deserved as trouble broke out following Ference's check.

Boogaard said he thinks it's time the NHL eliminates the last-five-minute instigating rule because it gives opponents license to go after star players during that time.

"The players should decide the game, not other people," Boogaard said. "Some guys say that rule's not in the back of their heads, but it is. It's probably never good to cost your coach 10,000 bucks."

No kidding. Just ask Kyle Wanvig, whose career with the Wild effectively ended when Lemaire wrote that $10,000 check for Wanvig instigating a fight with Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik late in a December game last season.

Boogaard's contention that the rule should be eliminated comes on the heels of NHL general managers recommending that players should draw an automatic two-game suspension for their fifth instigator penalty, rather than their third.

Anaheim GM Brian Burke said he feels it will give players more freedom to protect star players, although, only Philadelphia's Ben Eager has been suspended this season for three instigators.

"I still won't play the last five minutes," Boogaard said. "Back in the day, guys came into the league not-so tough and when they left they were tough. Now I don't respect a lot of these guys. They come into the league soft and they leave soft.

"No matter how much [the NHL] says, 'Oh, we like fighting,' if they liked it so much, why are they putting all these rules in? It's a joke."

Wild GM Doug Risebrough said, "I would be in favor" in eliminating the rule.

"I never understood that one," Risebrough said. "To me it was an overreaction to an incident that happened in Calgary."

The incident Risebrough is referring to occurred March 20, 2004. With three seconds left in a Nashville victory, then-Flames coach Darryl Sutter put out four tough guys -- Krzysztof Oliwa, Rhett Warrener, Robyn Regehr and Mike Commodore, with Regehr, a defenseman, taking the draw.

Predictably a brawl ensued, including a fight between goalies Tomas Vokoun and Miikka Kiprusoff.

After the game, incensed Predators coach Barry Trotz said, "They had four puppets out there to do something. ... We're trying to clean up the game and [Sutter] keeps putting it back in the 1930s."

Risebrough said, "The league felt it had to show a punishment, but it doesn't limit the potential of another problem. In fact, it might create a new one."

And that's going after stars such as Gaborik in the last five minutes.

Draft revamp

TSN reported last week that the draft order will be revamped in June, where instead of just the Stanley Cup finalist and champion picking 29th and 30th respectively, the conference finals losers will pick 27th and 28th.

In the report, the six teams, including the Wild, that voted against the change were listed, something that angered Risebrough.

"Amazing the league gets all cranked always when they hear stuff leaks out," Risebrough said, sarcastically. "They say, 'We'll find out. We'll find out.'"

Risebrough voted against the change because "the playoffs are often a crapshoot where an underdog can take off who didn't necessarily have that great a season. There are 28 games max in the playoffs. There are 82 in the regular season. Isn't 82 a better determinant of a team's success than 28?"

Spying Saskin?

After getting off the NHL Players' Association player-rep conference call that resulted in Executive Director Ted Saskin being put on paid leave for allegedly spying on players' e-mails during the lockout, Wild defenseman Nick Schultz said former teammate Dwayne Roloson and Chris Chelios had a right to say, "I told you so."

For two years, Roloson and Chelios led a faction of players who wanted to unseat Saskin for improper conduct.

"Finally, [players] got the information, the information that we tried to get out two years ago," Roloson, now the Oilers' goalie, said.

But Roloson said, "Ted's still there. He's not acting as our union head, but he's still there." Roloson hopes a search committee's put in place "to get the right guy to get the union being strong and unified like it was."

Stick check

Blaine's Brandon Bochenski had bounced around the past year, but he appears to have found a home in Boston. In 18 games with the Bruins, the former North Dakota standout has nine goals and 17 points.

He uses the same curve and looks a lot like former 300-goal scorer Ray Sheppard.

"He's got the long stick that Sheppard had, he's got the upright skating style and he shoots wristers," teammate Jason York said. "You never see him shoot slappers, like Sheppard.

"You know what it is? He's got an elusive wrist shot. A lot of guys will kind of snap it a little bit and he kind of sweeps it. He's a shooter."


Brian Rolston's latest slap shot goal against Vancouver's Roberto Luongo came from the blue line and tied Tuesday's game late before the Wild won it in overtime. Asked if Rolston's in his head, Luongo said, "He's in the top of the circle and he has the hardest shot in the league. He doesn't have the hardest shot in the league for nothing."

After Islanders forward Chris Simon's slash to the face of the Rangers' Ryan Hollweg, Marty McSorley told the Edmonton Journal, "The first thing my wife Leanne said was, 'Should I shut the phone off?' McSorley was suspended 23 games in 2000 for clubbing Donald Brashear.

Anaheim's Teemu Selanne, 36, is the only player in NHL history to record back-to-back 40-goal seasons after the age of 35: "Somebody told me that. That doesn't make me feel very good. It makes me feel very, very old."

A variety of sources was used in compiling this report.
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