During All-Star weekend the suggestions offered to boost scoring
and increase the flow of the game ranged from the sensible
(restrict the size of goaltenders' pads) to the comical (Flyers
forward Keith Primeau's notion that once an attacking team
crosses the blue line, the offensive zone would extend to the red
line). But one idea that's gaining support should be seriously
considered: a return to the one-referee system.
The NHL added a second referee in 1998-99 not only to whistle
penalties but also to reduce clutching and grabbing behind the
play. But nearly every player polled said obstruction is as
rampant as it's ever been and penalty standards can vary greatly
from official to official. Removing one ref--and giving linesmen
the authority to whistle blatant penalties behind the play--would
ease the crowding on ice. And players are more likely to obey the
rules when enforcement is consistent.