The NHL ‘Let Them Play’ Mentality – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

The NHL ‘Let Them Play’ Mentality

The most annoying and tiresome phrase used in the NHL is ‘Let Them Play’. This phrase is used by ex-players and by washed up ex coach hockey analyzers non stop. I’m not sure exactly how many times Mike Milbury, Barry Melrose and Pierre McGuire used the phrase during Sundays NBC telecast of the Pittsburgh Penguin – Philadelphia Flyer game, but it was starting to hurt my ears.


The main problem with the phrase is that when it’s used by these guys that can’t get and hold a job coaching because of their antiquated ideas, is that it means exactly the opposite of what it sounds like. What they are asking for is that the referees to turn a blind eye towards the clutching, grabbing, hooking, holding, interference, and other small penalties that they call “nickel dime” penalties, another phrase that they use too many times.

Not calling of these penalties would cause the game to revert to the stone ages of the late nineties when scoring titles were won in the double digits. The NHL has finally got the game moving at a better pace where we are able to see fantastic playmaking, unbelievable moves and just plain more scoring.

The NHL is upon a new era, the average attendance has been steadily rising the last four years and could possibly beat the NBA next year. The new ‘Winter Classic’ and the more enjoyable to watch hockey has gotten the TV ratings to also improve steadily. The NHL also has great opportunity for this to get better and better with the rise of three young superstars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin. You could maybe a throw in a fourth, John Tavaras who most likely will be joining the perennial lowest attendance team who just happens to be in the NHL’s largest TV market, the New York Islanders.

To truly ‘let them play’ you need to call all of the penalties all of the time all the way up unto the final second of the game, whether playoffs or regular season. 

So during Saturdays 3PM NBC telecast join with me in stopping the people who use this phrase to ruin our game, every time you hear the phrase “let them play” say to yourself, no, say it out loud “old washed up has-been who’s trying to ruin hockey” Be sure to read my next article on how you know that a print Journalist or blogger has an unskilled hockey team just because they use the phrase ‘let them play’.  I will include my drinking games: Chug every time they say ‘let them play’ or my ‘Nickel Dime’ version of the fun drinking game ‘Quarters’.

Shop.NHL.com Outlet

1 Comment

  1. DR Hook's Gravatar DR Hook
    April 25, 2009 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I still have ticket stubs of my seats in C-10 at $8.00 a seat and also the same seats marked $90.00. So, I go back a long way. I just thought I’d throw that out there so there is some perspective. The years prior to the lockout I was getting so bored watching players allowed to clutch and grab opponents that I was ready to put the NHL on the back burner. The league simply slowed down the speedy, talented players thus making the marginal players ‘more valuable’… it’s not that I didn’t enjoy a defensive hockey game and it wasn’t that shutouts were boring as defensive games can be exciting and entertaining. What I am saying is that the NHL slid so far into a defensive style that they had gotten totally away from entertaining hockey. Interference was always against the rules but the NHL ignored it and the entertainment value went into the toilet.
    The goaltending equipment got ridiculous and everything combine led to those who loved the game to look the other way.
    Fans thought that calling interference would eliminate the physicality of the game. It hasn’t. The physical aspects have change but they are still there. You don’t see as many defensemen taking runs at forwards because if they miss they no longer can use their stick or hands to stop them. Battles in front of the net are different but they do exist. (Usually) the defender must wait until the puck comes into the slot before he can aggressively move an opponent. Physical hockey has not disappeared; but what has happened is it is purer.

    Following the rules as they were written and the salary cap has created a much more exciting league… any doubts, just check the attendance.
    So, when I hear what the cavemen of hockey like Milbury, McGuire, and Melrose doing that “let them play” routine… I much rather have a questionable call made then to allow it to ever get back to 2003 hockey.


Follow PenguinPoop

Shop.NHL.com Outlet

PenguinPoop Unique Visitors