Faceoff tosses an ‘epidemic’
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.