Face­off tosses an ‘epi­demic’

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page -

After watch­ing his top cen­tres thrown out of mul­ti­ple draws, in­clud­ing some at crit­i­cal mo­ments, Chicago Black­hawks coach Joel Quen­neville gave a harsh cri­tique of the NHL’S crack­down on face­off vi­o­la­tions.

“Tonight was an epi­demic for sure,” Quen­neville said after a 4-3 over­time loss at Toronto on Monday night. “Right off the bat, I don’t know what was the num­ber but I think (cap­tain Jonathan Toews) got tossed about nine times.”

Eight sec­onds into over­time, Toews was kicked out of the face-off cir­cle in his own zone, leav­ing de­fence­man Brent Seabrook to take the draw. Mean­while, Black­hawks de­fence­man Gus­tav For­ling also lined up for a face­off when his team was killing a 4-on-3 power play in the sec­ond pe­riod.

Chicago had 11 play­ers par­tic­i­pate in a to­tal of 64 face­offs, with 18 of those be­ing taken by some­one other than an ev­ery­day cen­tre. Toews’ line­mate Bran­don Saad went 0-for-8 in the cir­cle.

It wasn’t just the Black­hawks who felt it. The Leafs had 10 play­ers take at least one face­off.

Quen­neville says the frus­trat­ing part about all the vi­o­la­tions is the lack of clar­ity as to why play­ers are be­ing tossed.

“Right now (the of­fi­cials) don’t tell you why, so that’s the part. It’s tough on cen­tre­man,” he said.

Getty Images

Joel Quen­neville

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