Goalies, and former goalies, have had ample reason this season to believe NHL authorities are out to get them, or at the very least, don't have their best interests at heart.
From smaller equipment to restrictions on playing the puck, the impact of the NHL goaltender has been reduced this season, and the numbers prove it.
But if there was one area in which goalies got their way, it was, after many years of complaining loudly the were able to influence the league to stop treating them differently from skaters when it came to lifting the puck out of play, intentionally or otherwise.
Netminders chafed for years over this one, questioning why they received a minor penalty for errant clears while forwards and defenceman would only be penalized in the most egregious of circumstances.
They had a point.
Instead of taking away the goalie penalty, however, the league chose to give the skaters one for the same infraction. Actually it was the competition committee that made the recommendation, and, interestingly, there wasn't even a goalie on the committee at the time.
Even if you like this rule, as I do, it's not hard to see it will be the most talked about regulation this spring at playoff time.
There seems to be little question it will decide a playoff game. Just like the "toe in the crease" playoff year of 1999 when Dallas won the Cup with Brett Hull's skate in the blue, this otherwise minor rule is going to play a major role.
In the Leafs-Bruins game Tuesday night, each team was penalized once, and the B's scored a goal. With 1:12 left in last Friday's game between the Devils and Capitals, Jersey forward Jay Pandolfo was sent off for the "delay of game" call and Dainius Zubrus scored to send the game into overtime.
Often, it seems, teams are getting two-man advantages through this rule because penalty killers under pressure are making errors trying to clear the zone. Last Sunday, the Rangers were leading Atlanta 2-1 with less than seven minutes to play when Blair Betts took a cross-checking minor and five seconds later Darius Kasaparitis was sent off for flipping the puck out.
Less than two minutes later after intense pressure, Atlanta tied the game on Ilya Kovalchuk's goal, then won it in overtime.
You can imagine this rule playing a huge role in the post-season, and that there will be an enormous hue and cry suggesting it is a rule that needs to be repealed. The league is already examining the issue.
One thought on the problem. It seems pretty clear at least half the players on the ice during an NHL game at any given are using an illegal stick, which is why you're seeing such a scramble before shootouts these days as the officials measure each and every piece of lumber before it's used.
Crazy curves might help shooters fool goalies, but it may also be that they are proving to be notoriously unreliable at key moments when a simple attempt to flip the puck off the glass from the defensive zone is turning into a huge setback for their teams.