The NHL has had a cross-checking problem for some time now. Not just the fact that it happens on a consistent basis and can result in injury, but that it has not been consistently enforced by the league’s on-ice officials. Especially when it comes to battles for positioning in front of the net.
The league claims it is looking to change that this season.
As the 2021-22 season approaches, the NHL has said there will be a tighter standard for the enforcement of rule 59 (the cross-checking rule) in the hopes of calling more penalties and giving offensive players a better opportunity to shine.
On Friday, the league sent out a video highlighting some of the plays that will be penalized this season.
By the wording of the rule, all of them should have been penalized in previous years.
2021-22 Rule Interpretation: Rule 59 – Cross-checking
For the 2021-22 season there will be a tighter standard of enforcement for Rule 59 – Cross-checking.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) September 24, 2021
The NHL has seemingly always operated under the assumption that cross-checking is just one of those things that happens around the net. While it does get called fairly regularly, there are probably even more infractions that go uncalled over the course of any random game.
In previous years the NHL has tried to crack down on other infractions and call them more frequently, including interference and most recently slashing.
There is no doubt that early in the season we will see an increase in cross-checking calls and more power plays.
They key is going to be how long that continues.
More NHL News