One could argue that if NHL players are more intense in the play-offs, and presumably more physical, they are more likely to violate rules, writes Gregg Patton.
NHL: Referees not turning blind eye to play-off penalties
One of the perceived differences between NHL regular season and play-off hockey is that referees let a lot of penalties slide.
Just thinking it, however, does not necessarily make this "truism" true.
In fact, the last four teams in the post-season have been penalised slightly more in the post-season (a cumulative average of 10.9 minutes per game) than in the regular season (10.7).
One could argue that if players are more intense in the play-offs, and presumably more physical, they are more likely to violate rules.
So the "truism" must be correct – there are more penalties and the officials ignore them.
Not necessarily. One also could argue that players are hyper-aware in the post-season (thanks to red-faced coaches) that penalties can be crippling, so they vigilantly avoid tripping, high-sticking, et al.
The raw numbers through Friday were that Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings had been whistled for, roughly, one less penalty per game in the play-offs, Chicago Black Hawks one more and Pittsburgh Penguins 1.5 more.
The subject drew attention, again, in Pittsburgh-Boston series Game 3, when Jaromir Jagr began the game-winning play for the Bruins in overtime by, allegedly, getting away with a hook.
Perhaps he did.
But to think this wouldn't have happened in the regular season is nonsense.
Or supposition, at best. The numbers, for starters, don't support it.
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