Murphy: Can't please everyone

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

The NHL gave its players a lot to chew on this season with a host of radical rule changes.

League hockey operations vice-president Mike Murphy believes most have been well-digested, but acknowledges the players weren't going to like everything about the new NHL.

"No-touch icing (the No. 1 suggested new rule in the Sun's Player Poll) was on the table last summer," Murphy said.

"But it was decided it would contradict taking out the red line for two-line passes. You'd end up with a game of a missed long pass and a whistle, back and forth."

A strong segment of players also want the late-game instigator penalty scrapped, along with its fine/suspension component. It's the same thinking of those opposed to the original instigator suspension, which upset the players' code of restitution if a sluggo hit a skill guy.

"The (late-game) instigator is in place so (senior VP) Colin Campbell can step in and prevent one team from coming out and getting a pound of flesh," Murphy said. "There have been incidents where it was an honest to goodness (spontaneous outbreak late in a close games), but what Colin wanted was to remove two rugged players from inflicting their own justice in a 6-1 game."

Players are also hot under the collar about the new penalty for shooting pucks into the crowd.

"I'd guess that more than 50% of those calls have been on teams killing a penalty," Murphy said of the added burden for rule breakers. "But (dumping the puck) is a low skill play and it's hoped they'll try something better."

Murphy was pleased to hear the players have embraced the stretch pass and taken advantage of dramatically lessened clutch-and-grab tactics.

"The puck is moving better than before and defences have to spread out," Murphy said. "As far as the crackdown, a lot of credit goes to (new NHL officiating director) Stephen Walkom. He's reinforced that this is not going away, because it's what owners want, what fans want and what the players said they wanted.

"I didn't think I'd like the shootouts, because I'm a traditionalist and I wanted to try three-on-three in overtime. It's still a hotly contested issue, but the fans like shootouts and we have to remember that we're in the entertainment business, too."

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