Big Z tees off on rules

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:26 AM ET

WILKES-BARRE, PA. -- Big Zdeno Chara says he's getting the short end of the stick.

The towering Senators defenceman told the Sun yesterday the NHL's new rules will lead to too much scoring ... and hamper his physical style of play.

"The way the game is right now I could take off my shoulder pads because I don't even need shoulder pads," said Chara. "They've made the rules so tough you can't do anything out there. Guys hit me and fall down and I get a penalty. It's really tough to play.

"Right now when a guy comes into the zone, you've got to give him a free pass to go to the net and if you even touch him you're going to get a penalty.

"I push a guy (in Friday night's 3-0 win over Pittsburgh) and the next thing you know I'm getting a boarding call because the official tells me I'm stronger than the guy and I can't touch him."

Chara said the league must allow for some physical play, while still allowing players to use their skills.

"There has to be something in between where they can make it exciting for everybody -- including the players and the fans," said Chara.

"Look, I can understand them wanting to get rid of the clutching and the grabbing because that's not hockey.

"But I think they should still allow the pushing and the battling in front of the net. Otherwise, you're going to have games where it's 10-8 and 10-9.

"Ten goals? That's not exciting. Say what you want about the game in the past, but at least the scoring was low and it was exciting for the fans. If there's a lot of goals, people are eventually going to get tired of that too.

"Look at basketball, they score 100 points. Well, the fans don't go crazy with every point. They get sick of the scoring."

Chara, a runner-up for the Norris Trophy in 2004, knows he's going to have to make an adjustment or he'll spend a lot of time in the penalty box.

He's not the only high-profile defenceman in that category -- Edmonton's Chris Pronger and Philly's Derian Hatcher have to adjust their game as well.

"I'm not quite sure how you say this, but I think they have to respect the history of the game a little bit and the way hockey is played with guys finishing their checks," said Chara. "If it doesn't change, there will be 60 minutes of hockey with 35 minutes of power plays.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


Videos

Photos