RAZOR'S RANTS: Make penalty shots common at end

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Daryl Reaugh

FOXSports.com: There's been a lot of discussion lately about last week's penalty shot goal in overtime that gave the a win over the . What did you think about the play and the call that allowed to take the penalty shot? Daryl Reaugh: I talked about this the other day on a program here. In light of what happened in that game, it's so interesting to talk to players who see things in such a different way sometimes than those that just observe. Not one of the guys that I asked thought that should've been a penalty shot. I asked them, "Why wouldn't it be a penalty shot?" They all said, "Well, you've gotta have possession." I went into this long explanation dating back to '99 when scored the Cup-winning goal for the , when that was a possession issue. Basically, the problem with the players in the league right now is nobody seems to know how to define possession. Does it have to be right on your stick or touching your body to be possession? No. When you look it up in the NHL rule book, possession is a little grayer than "when it's on your stick." You can argue that you have to have the puck within your control for it be possession. Then what happens with a guy like , who likes to shove the puck forward and skate to it. So every time he shoves the puck forward, it's not in his possession? Damn right it's in his possession. My feeling on why that penalty shot was called, I feel he was in home free. He got tugged on as he was putting the puck down on the ice as he was going to break in. It took away a reasonable scoring chance, and that's what a penalty shot does. It replaces the scoring chance. I thought that should be a penalty shot every time. Then I took it one step further. Why wouldn't every infraction within the final minute, let's say, of overtime be a penalty shot? The only thing that's in there right now is if you shove the net off its moorings on a breakaway or with the puck about to go in, they can award the goal anyway. But it's a delay of game, and they don't give you a two-minute penalty, they give you a penalty shot. There were 36 seconds left in that game. I would much rather tug on a guy and not give him a breakaway and then only have to kill off 36 seconds of a power play than give the guy the breakaway. That's where the players' mentality is now. The players don't really see it as we do, and certainly not as the fans do, that this would be a fitting end to some of these games. There are a lot of people that would love to see shootouts. I'm not one of them. But this would almost be a manufactured shootout. If you can't serve the full two minutes of the penalty, why shouldn't there be a penalty shot called? Whether it's a hook in the neutral zone or wherever, if you take a penalty in the final two minutes and that player can't serve the entire penalty, automatic penalty shot. You'd need a rule change, obviously. I don't know if penalty shots are up this year, but we've seen two already in games this year. So they're up around us. faced one the other night against Detroit and Brendan Morrow scored one earlier in the season. Both of them, if you were a real stickler, you could argue that they shouldn't have been penalty shots. But if we're trying to sell this game — and last time I looked there were 8,000 or 9,000 people in 18,000-seat arenas all over the place — you'd better find a way to make it as exciting and enjoyable as possible. There's absolutely nothing more exciting than a penalty shot. You can work it into the final two minutes of regulation, too. If you're going to take a penalty, and that power play is not going to be able to be completed, it should be a penalty shot. Maybe teams would be able to decide if they want to take the penalty shot or put out their power play. Give them the option. Now, I don't want to see games decided in a shootout. You wouldn't want to go to a basketball game and see the game end with both teams on the free-throw line until somebody misses. To me, that would suck. But I also understand the American mentality where they can't quite understand how a game can end in a tie, ever. I wish they'd come up with some way to change overtime. Playing 4-on-4 is the right step. Maybe after a couple of minutes, they should go 3-on-3. Just to help make sure there's going to be a conclusion to this. The more players you drop off, the more breakaways get manufactured. In essence, instead of going to a skills competition and going straight to a shootout, you would be manufacturing a shootout within some semblance of a hockey game. For the fan that needs to have a winner and a loser, you're not going to be guaranteed of it, but that chances of it are going to go way up. But this whole idea of possession is bothering me. To me, you go back to the chain of possession. That's what they use to determine who gets assists on goals. They look at who were the last players to touch the puck. And that's what I used to apply to the goal in '99. Who was the last player to touch the puck? Well, Hullie was. And it was still between his legs, it was still in his possession, and then he scored. For all the people in Buffalo, I'm sorry. But on every level it's still a goal. And it was the correct call at the time because of my understanding of what possession is. And the same thing came true on that play in overtime in Philadelphia. I thought it was a great way to end a game. It was on national television and it was perfect. FOXSports.com: There have been a couple of coaching changes since the last time we spoke. What are your thoughts on them? DR: I felt bad for Darryl Sutter. If you're a coach in the NHL right now, you should go out and find a way to please, to appease, to coddle, to stroke, to do anything you can to make your No. 1 goaltender's world perfect. If you want to be an NHL coach, if you want to be employed in this league, that's the only thing that will keep you employed. Essentially, once your goaltending goes south, you're a bad coach. If your goaltending's good, you're a good coach. Sometimes you're a great coach. But as soon as your goaltending falters, you're an idiot. All of a sudden you've had a lobotomy. Darryl Sutter loses at the beginning of the season; he didn't all of a sudden lose his ability to coach. I watched those early games. They were giving up goals all over the place. It just undermines the confidence and the structure of your team. There's no trust that you're going to get these saves. It changes the way you play. All of a sudden you end up in the funk that they were in out there. Because of that, along with the holdout of , he gets fired. Obviously, it went deeper than that, but it was unfortunate for him. He's done a lot of good things out there. You can say the same thing in Calgary. Last year, at the beginning of the year, Greg Gilbert was brilliant because was the best goaltender in the NHL. Then they paid him. I like Roman a lot, and as a goaltender, too. But ever since then he's had pockets of inconsistency. As soon as you lose your No. 1 guy playing to his ability, you're an idiot coach. That's what happened there again. You look back at Buffalo when they had Dominik Hasek, nothing against Lindy Ruff or anything, but they had the best goaltender on the planet. That allows you to be a really good coach. Look at the way it was here last year. Ken Hitchcock gets fired. Why did he get fired? Well, had an .895 save percentage. That's why he got fired. If played the way he is right now in Toronto last year, Hitch is still the coach last year. And they would've won more games last year. And they would've made the playoffs. I'm not stating something that is irreverent in any way. It's just fact. Those two positions are so intertwined with one another. And for the most part, you can connect those two things. For whatever reason, if the No. 1 goalie's play is sub par, the coach couldn't coach. Look at a guy like Curt Fraser in Atlanta. They've had a gaggle of goaltenders there. might be the guy for them. He might be able to win games, steal games, keep them in games, which will make a guy that was all but fired in the first two weeks of the season look like a coach that can stay there a little longer. And then you look at a coach like Barry Trotz in Nashville. fell off the map at the beginning of the year. So all of a sudden, now your No. 1 goaltender (well, pseudo-No. 1, since they both play there) is just crushing them. Now there are rumblings possibly about a coaching change there. I don't think there's another position like that. They're concierges. They're coaching concierges. And if that bell desk is empty, then you're in a lot of trouble. It's always a major part. If your No. 1 guy is standing on his head, you're a good coach. And if they falter, all your good coaching seems to go down the drain. And you're the guy that takes the fall. This'll go against the goaltender's union, but I think all these coaches that get fired should go back and sue their No. 1 goaltender. They should sue them for some kind of non-support. The reason they lost their job is because that guy didn't do his job. Daryl Reaugh is in his seventh season as color analyst for the Dallas on Fox Sports Net Southwest. A veteran of television and radio broadcasts since 1990, Reaugh came to Dallas from the Hartford Whalers, where he was the color analyst in 1995-96. Reaugh has also shown his talents to a national audience through his work with various networks, including FOX. Reaugh's playing career included stints in the NHL with both the Edmonton and Hartford Whalers. His promising career was cut short in 1991 due to a severe hamstring injury. Prior to turning pro, he was an All-Star netminder for the Kamloops Blazers under former coach Ken Hitchcock. Reaugh gives FOXSports.com his insight regularly.
Tagged: Flames, Red Wings, Oilers, Stars, Rangers, Flyers, Sharks, Maple Leafs, Predators, Jets, Dominik Hasek, Brett Hull, Marty Turco, Ed Belfour, Evgeni Nabokov, Brad Stuart, Michal Handzus, Mike Dunham

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