The Kings’ Wayne Gretzky is critical of what he perceives to be a lack of consistency in enforcing the NHL’s attempted crackdown on interference and obstruction.
On Tuesday, he suggested in a Canadian television interview that the league was in “disarray” and “chaos” over the issue.
“Nobody is sure what’s going on,” he said Wednesday. “They’re calling it some games and then they aren’t. It doesn’t change during the game, so it’s not hurting anybody. From our point of view, we want it called the same way [each game].”
The league held a conference call with officials and general managers on Monday, a preventive measure to reinforce the commitment to the new rules.
Gretzky simply wants a middle ground, not the way it was being called during exhibitions.
“In exhibitions if you just touched a guy, you would get a penalty,” he said. “It was crazy in the exhibitions. But it slowly faded away. Right now, we can’t go back [to the old ways]. We’ve got to keep it where people can still play defensively but not get called for just touching someone.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he was “surprised” by the comments, but Gretzky hadn’t heard from any league official. A teammate jokingly reprimanded Gretzky for ripping the league, slapping his own wrist.