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NHL cautions teams on unacceptable behaviour

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Darren Dreger
4/9/2008 11:42:26 PM
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Every year going into the playoffs, the National Hockey League identifies its "Hot-Spots."

Hot-Spots are series Hockey Operations believes have the potential of turning nasty.

On Tuesday, Colin Campbell conducted a conference call to educate postseason coaches and general managers on what the league will be paying close attention to.  

At the top of Campbell's list of unacceptable behavior is unnecessary late game brutality.   Traditionally, this type of message -sending takes place when the team trailing in the last five minutes of a game wants to change the emotional tone of the series.  

The NHL says it won't tolerate this.  However, based on this years match ups, an argument for hot-spot recognition can be made for virtually every series.

In the East, Boston and Montreal will be watched closely as the Bruins may try and out muscle the Canadiens, or worse try and exact revenge for a Steve Begin crosscheck last month that broke a bone in Marc Savard's back.

The Flyers – Capitals series may get greasy if Philadelphia targets Art Ross trophy winner Alex Ovechkin as some predict, while the eyes of hockey's chief disciplinarian never stray far from any game that has Sean Avery and Ryan Hollweg involved; meaning the Devils and Rangers has "Hot-Spot" status.

Although the Ottawa-Pittsburgh series wasn't expected to generate a ton of heat, the late game nastiness that developed in the final few minutes is an example of what the National Hockey League is hoping to avoid.

In the series opener the Penguins were just as aggressive as the Senators, but the game was out of hand when the rough stuff erupted.

In the West, three of the four quarter-final series may get heated in a hurry.   

The Calgary Flames led the NHL in fighting majors with 70, one better than the Anaheim Ducks, so the expectation is the Flames and Sharks along with the Stars and Ducks will be very physical.

The Minnesota Wild, armed with Derek Boogaard, Chris Simon and Todd Fedoruk can't be overlooked either.  The Colorado Avalanche may not want to engage in a "toe-to-toe" battle with Minnesota, however the potential is there.

Emotions run high this time of year.  The NHL has no problem with that, but when the temperature reaches the boiling point, Hot-Spots can also turn in to trouble spots.

 

Vandermeer fights Parros (Photo: Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
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