Tiger takes jabs at rules

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Not that anybody cares what a high-level oil and gas executive has to say about the new NHL but count David J.L. Williams out as a fan.

Taking up residence in Calgary where he now does his mucking amongst oil and gas jet-setters as president and CEO of Pacific Rodera Energy, the man better known as Tiger is one of the few to vocalize his displeasure with the league's sanitized version.

But then again, as the league's all-time penalty-minute leader, what else would you expect?

"They can sell this (garbage) to anyone else, not me," said the longtime Maple Leaf before playing in last night's Canada/Russia Legends game at the 'Dome.

"With all these powerplays you can go watch the same (garbage) in a midget or peewee practice with guys in an umbrella situation trying to get it to the middle to pound the puck at the net. Tell me what's so exciting about that? Wow, that's exciting watching young (Dion) Phanuef shoot 50 times. It makes no sense to me. How can anybody say this is more exciting -- explain it to me? You can't."

Unimpressed by the fact the very same battles in front of the net and along the wall that kept him in the NHL for 14 years are gone, the 51-year-old Weyburn, Sask., native laments the fact the game has no semblance of intensity or flow.

"Tell me, with all these rule changes, how many more five-on-five goals are there now over last year? None -- maybe even less. The stars are too tired because they've been on the powerplay for five minutes," sneered the former Swift Current Broncos winger.

"They're going to kill all the goalies and most of the good defencemen. And some snot-nosed little (punk) that isn't going to break a nail is going to score 50 goals and he's never driven to the net in his life. He's never stood in front of the net with Moose Dupont giving him 89 cross checks in the back of the head."

Looking around Team Canada's room, Williams pointed out a bevy of 400 and 500 goals scorers like Dale Hawerchuk, Lanny McDonald, Glenn Anderson, Steve Shutt and Bryan Trottier.

"Whether crosschecking a guy in front of the net like we did was right or wrong the guys in this room played through that. And now to have today's players score 400 goals in a no-touch pond hockey league is garbage. Getting in another guy's face is part of the character of the game."

Despite the emphasis on speed and skill nowadays, Tiger points out most of the oldtimers like him could still easily fit into today's game. After all, while racking up 3,966 penalty minutes with five different clubs in the mid-'70s to late '80s Williams also managed to score 241 goals, including 35 for Vancouver in 1980-81.

"Anybody who played over 500 games could play in today's NHL because we could have adapted," said Williams, who has only spent three weeks at his Vancouver home since taking over the Calgary-based Energy company he owns.

"It's amazing that some little punk in New York has that much power and all of Canada is just full of followers. Every scout, colour guy and everyone who wants a job in the league one day are all marching to the same beat. What's so disappointing is there hasn't been one guy in the media who has said one bad thing about it. Either you're all stupid or you all lost your (guts) at the same time."

Or, maybe, we're all too busy enjoying the goals.


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