(CBS) Jonathan Toews missed the entire third period of the Blackhawks’ ugly 5-0 loss in Carolina on Tuesday with an illness.
That game marked the final action before the NHL All-Star break, meaning Toews has a chance to rest up and recover before the final 29 games of the season arrive. However, there’s a big problem.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
NHL rules require mandatory attendance for its All-Star players, and Toews was voted into the game. The punishment for missing the All-Star Game, even with an illness, is a one-game suspension. When Chicago returns to action next Tuesday in Colorado, Toews will wear a swanky suit, not his team sweater.
Consider this one of the worst rules in sports. While the NHL has the right to protect its product, punishing a player who needs to recover from an illness just seems wrong. What if the Blackhawks lose this game because their top line is lacking without Toews? It’s going to be a tough fight to hold the top spot in the Western Conference, even with Toews on the ice. This rule metes out meaningful consequences with a meangless exhibition game serving as grounds for the punishment.
There are plenty of bad rules in sports, whether it’s in-game or league-structured. Let’s look at some of the worst.
The NFL catch
What’s a catch? No, seriously, what constitutes a reception in the NFL? Nobody knows anymore. Referees are left wondering, fans are flustered as a result and countless red flags are harmed in the process of figuring out what should be such a simple concept.
There’s the “Calvin Johnson Rule,” which was the NFL unknowingly doubling down on confusion, the Dez Bryant incident during the 2015 divisional round in which he maintained the football and countless GIFs available online to illustrate how unnecessarily confusing this has become.
NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino is ever present each week to do his dog and pony show and defend his refs, but it just leaves us even more confused. Nobody knows what a catch is anymore.
MLB awarding home-field advantage to winning league in All-Star Game
Exhibition games are meant to be just that — exhibitions. They’re not supposed to carry meaning. Except baseball’s Midsummer Classic does matter. The winning league gains home-field advantage in the World Series. While that certainly doesn’t change the course of every World Series, it’s worth noting that on the last 10 occasions in which the championship series went to a Game 7, the home team won nine times.READ MORE: 1 Killed, 6 Wounded In Weekend Shootings Across Chicago
Point for NHL OT losers
An old saying explains that tying a game is like kissing your sister, which is just a weird expression in the first place. Perhaps the NHL acknowledged this years ago in eliminating ties from its game, but that didn’t mean it would all get better.
The NHL awards one point to teams that lose in overtime, while the winning team receives two points, whether it’s victorious in regulation or anytime thereafter. Past it being mathematically odd to dole out two total points on some nights and three total points on others, there’s the idea/occurrence of a “gentleman’s point” — when two teams in different conferences put forth the conservative, lackadaisical effort to go to overtime, assuring each a point and essentially helping each other out. That’s against the spirit of competition and shows there’s little to justify this odd rule, which carries playoff carries and can make a major difference at season’s end.
Allowing the Hack-a-Shaq strategy in the NBA
Shaquille O’Neil had a terrific NBA career, but one of the things he’s most known for was poor free-throw shooting. This was well-known to opponents, who often resorted to intentionally fouling Shaq early in the game and using his free throw futility to get back in the game.
It’s a strategy more widely used now, as seen last week when Pistons big man Andre Drummond broke an NBA record by missing 23 free throws during a win over the Rockets, one in which he shot the ball 37 times from the line. The Rockets put in a seldom-used goon to foul Drummond five times in nine seconds, attempting to get back into the game. It worked to an extent but didn’t result in victory. Allowing foes to intentionally foul for the game’s first 46 minutes — there are harsher consequences in the final two minutes — disrupts the beautiful, free-flowing game and makes for terrible viewing.
Signing an incorrect scorecard in golf
When golfers finish their rounds, they have to sign a hole-by-hole scorecard before their score is official. The consequence for signing an incorrect scorecard is A) disqualification if you sign for a score lower than you actually had on any given hole or B) taking the score you signed for if it’s higher than what you actually recorded on a given hole. (Example: Sign for a birdie-3 when you had a par-4 on the first hole, and you’re disqualified. Sign for a bogey-5 when you had a par-4, and that turns your 72 into a 73.)
In nearly every other sport, official scorekeepers track the outcome of competitions. The athletes can just focus on competing. Golf has scorekeepers too, but for reasons that make no sense, they still put an unnecessary onus on the players.MORE NEWS: Father Christopher Ciomek, Pastor Of St. Peter Damian Parish In Bartlett, Removed Amid 30-Year-Old Child Sex Abuse Claims
Why should an old-school typo with a pencil or fleeting moment of poor math take away from a performance that was fairly achieved on the course?