Canucks’ Tocchet takes aim at ‘head snappers’, doesn’t like players trying to influence NHL officials

Photo credit:© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
4 months ago
As the head coach of the first place team in the overall National Hockey League standings, Rick Tocchet really hasn’t had much to complain about this season. But after practice Wednesday, the Canucks’ bench boss got on his soap box briefly and lamented the fact that he feels too many players in the league these days are trying to sell calls to the officials.
Tocchet’s gripe comes in the wake of Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh, when the Canucks took five more penalties to add to their league-leading total since the All Star break. But to be clear, Tocchet said his issue wasn’t with Penguins players. He was just using this occasion the day after his team’s 4-3 overtime loss to Pittsburgh to vent.
In the past 12 games, the Canucks have taken more minor penalties and been short-handed far more than any other team in the league. And that remains an on-going concern for a coach who knows too many penalties at playoff time could be his club’s undoing.
Rather than levelling his frustration at the on-ice officials, Tocchet took aim at players around the league that he feels are trying to influence the men in stripes.
“I hate that in the league, people snap their heads back, and they get (draw) penalties,” Tocchet said. “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.”
On that last point, Tocchet has appealed to his team to play hard, but also show better discipline.
Over the last dozen games, Nikita Zadorov and JT Miller lead the Canucks with six minor penalties apiece, followed by Tyler Myers, Ian Cole, and Nils Höglander. So it’s not just one or two offenders. There are plenty of culprits. 
As for the types of penalties the Canucks are taking, since the All-Star break, the team has been whistled for 11 tripping calls and nine high-sticking infractions. There have been seven roughing calls – although a number of those have been coincidental minors that haven’t left the club short-handed. The Canucks have also been called for five hooks, three slashes, and a pair of holding the stick penalties. So Tocchet’s not wrong when he says his team needs to eliminate stick fouls; the majority of the penalties assessed against the Canucks this month have been for careless use of the stick.

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