Canucks’ Rick Tocchet wants NHL to take newly proposed high-sticking challenge rule a step further

Photo credit:© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
3 months ago
Some rule changes were thrown around earlier today at the NHL general manager meetings in Florida, and one really seems to have stood out for Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet.
Among the proposed rules, which included a penalty assessed to goaltenders for intentionally dislodging the net to delay the game, is a rule that would allow coaches to use a challenge on high-sticking penalties to see whether it was actually an opponent’s stick or a teammate’s stick that struck the player — or no stick at all. In the case of a coach challenging either of these penalties and being proven wrong, their team will be assessed an additional penalty and have to endure a 5-on-3 PK.
When asked about this, the Canucks’ bench boss suggested using the rule to further discourage players from embellishing, something Tocchet (correctly) says his team has been on the wrong end of this year.
“I don’t think you can do it, but if a guy snaps his head [back] and [the stick] doesn’t touch his face, he should get a penalty,” said Tocchet. “I think it was three, four weeks ago, we had a couple of penalties against where it didn’t hit the guy’s face and we got a penalty. That’s what I think I’d like to be reviewable. That’s the stuff that bothers me. Why not penalize the guy that acts? I mean in soccer, don’t they give you a red car if you fake it or something? A yellow card or something? Maybe we can have a yellow card if you fake something.”
Tocchet’s Canucks have taken plenty of penalties in the second half of the NHL season, but rather than blame officials, Tocchet has repeatedly stressed the need for his players to be more disciplined and, yes, for “head-snappers” to cut it out.
“I hate that in the league, people snap their heads back, and they get (draw) penalties,” Tocchet said last month. “I feel bad for the refs because I can see where the guy snaps his head and they call it. We’ve had three (penalties) where the guy really didn’t high stick a guy and he snapped his head. But the refs have done a great job. I’ve actually told a couple refs: ‘if you find a guy snapping his head, I wouldn’t even give the guy a penalty for the rest of the year. That’s how you curb that crap. But I’m off topic. We’re taking too many penalties.”
Clearly, this is an issue in the league that Tocchet feels needs addressing, and it will be interesting to see if the league takes his suggestion if and when these new proposed rule changes are implemented.
Refs already have the power to call embellishing penalties against offending players. Would it really be that crazy for them to do the same after they review a high-sticking penalty and catch one of these head-snappers red-handed? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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