If that was the case back then, it certainly isn't now. Marc Staal used his head as a punching bag with his stick in last years playoffs without one call. Part of it is the penguins' own doing for getting a reputation as whiners, part of it is the bigger issue with the NHL, who refuses to protect ANY of its stars (like Patrick Kane). I seriously have never seen a league hate to feature its star players more than the NHL.
I just think the officiating in the NHL is absolute garbage overall and the sport has been suffering from it. I used to love watching the skill players dominate the sport...now its more about clutching, grabbing, intereference, and laying around the ice to block shots. The 90's devils fans love today's game.
As an aside, I used to love watching the Avalanch-Red Wings rivalry back in the day... which was the polar opposite of watching that horrificly boring Rags-Caps series.