NHL News: Strict cross-checking rules explained; Laine on his crappy play; Reaves sends warning to Wilson and others

The NHL is going to come down hard on cross-checking this season.

According to the league, there is no change to Rule 59 about cross-checking. It will just be a stricter interpretation and enforcement of the rule.

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NHL to strictly enforce cross-checking

“Beginning in the 2021-22 season, there will be a stricter enforcement of rule 59; cross-checking,” the league video explains. “Cross-checking, like many penalties is a judgment made by an official, and is not black and white. No two plays are exactly the same.”

The NHL lists potential factors involved in a cross-checking penalty:

  • Placement of the stick
  • Elimination through force
  • Player embellishment

So why is the league doing this? To promote offense and reduce injury. Although one NHL Player Agent thinks this will be like similar applications to existing rules in the past.

“We’re going to see a ton of cross-checking penalties called around the league in pre-season and 1st month of the season, then cross-checking penalties will go the way of the dodo bird,” Allan Walsh tweeted.

He may have a point.

Patrik Laine doesn’t mince words

The Blue Jackets forward is becoming one of the NHL’s most “notable quotables”. In discussing his expectations for the upcoming season, Patrik Laine was honest. Maybe too honest.

“I’ve never really been a numbers guy,” Laine answered. “I don’t set certain goals for the year, like ‘I want to score this many goals’ or whatever.”

Then Laine delivered.

“I just want to be a better player than I was last year,” he stated. “That’s going to be easy this year because I was pretty (much) shit last year. I just try to build off last year and try to be better and have fun this year.”

patrick laine played like shit
May 8, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Patrik Laine (29) skates against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1st period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The 23 year-old sniper struggled after a trade from Jets. He scored only 12 goals and 24 points in 46 games between Winnipeg (1GP, 2G-1A) and Columbus.

Laine will look to rebound and get back to the big time numbers he was putting up when he first broke into the league. As an 18 year-old rookie in 2016-17, he scored 36 goals and 64 points in 73 games. He followed that up with a 44 goal, 70 point outing in 82 games in 2017-18.

Ryan Reaves put Tom Wilson and the opponents on notice

The New York Rangers have been after Ryan Reaves for years and he even admitted that was the case yesterday when asked. “I told my wife one time, I’m probably going to end up in New York at some point,” he said with a smile. “And here we are.”

At 34 years-old, he’s now the oldest member on the team but is a physical specimen. Standing in at 6-2″ and an absolute shredded 225 lbs, Reaves looks like he could play another decade if he so chooses.

Yesterday, he wanted to make something very clear. He is not here to deal with just the Capitals’ Tom Wilson. Reavo, as he’s known by friends and foes alike, is here to hold every opponent accountable.

“I’m not here because of Tom Wilson. I’m here because of what players like Tom Wilson brings to his team, and Cal Clutterbuck and (Matt) Martin bring to their team,” Reaves declared. “It doesn’t matter what the player is, what team it is, whether we’re out east or out west. I’m holding everybody accountable. It doesn’t matter what happened last year. It matters what happens this season and everyone is going to be held accountable when they go up against our team.”