Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry Fraser wants to answer your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org!
With about five minutes left in the first period of Game 1 of LA vs NJ, the Kings iced the puck after a long penalty-killing shift and as such could not make a line change, but defenceman Matt Greene was 'injured' and went off, being replaced by Drew Doughty. Greene went down the tunnel to the locker room as 'proof' of the injury, but returned to the ice without missing a shift, which is evidence that it wasn't a real injury (instead his leg was probably stinging slightly from the shot block for a few seconds).
Now in no way do I think an injured player should be forced to play injured because of an icing, but would the NHL consider restrictions on injury-icing events? For example, instead of having LA choose the replacement player (they obviously chose their top defenceman Doughty to replace Greene), why not have the opposing team choose the replacement - with common sense, if a defenceman is injured, they must pick a defenceman, not a forward or forcing the injured player to sit out a certain amount of time (ie. - five minutes). I feel creating a policy like this would make teams and players think twice about embellishing the nature of the so-called injury. I look forward to hearing your opinion on the incident and if you have any other alternatives to counteract a 'fake injury'.
I believe your proposed solution to prevent players from faking an injury following an icing infraction is much too radical for it ever to be considered by the rules committee. The opposing team's coach would never be allowed to make the player selection to replace an 'injured' player; legitimate or embellished.
Rule 81.4 (line change on icing) does allow for the replacement of an injured player in addition to a goalkeeper who had been substituted for an extra attacker. The referee cannot be expected to play doctor should a player inform the ref he sustained an injury on the play and needs to be replaced. A request of this sort would never be refused by a referee.
The rule also allows for a coach to burn his time-out on an icing in order to rest players caught on a lengthy shift or penalty kill. Perhaps a solution to your question, Michael, might be to force a team to forfeit their time-out whenever an injured player is substituted following an icing. Perhaps the time-out might even allow an injured player the time necessary to heal?
It will take more than one player heading down the runway and returning to the bench once the puck is dropped before any change to the status quo will result. Matt Greene might have sustained an injury that prevented him from continuing at that moment. None of us can play doctor on this one. That being said, we don't need to call the team doctor to see that the old school player "honor system" is quite often no longer honorable with player embellishment occurring in epidemic proportions.
The only way to stop it (embellishment) is for the referees to lay the hammer down and assess penalties whenever they occur in a game. Off the ice, the maximum fine has to be levied followed by suspensions as prescribed in Rule 64.3. I am sure you haven't read many announcements relative to the enforcement of this rule so I will post it here.
Rule 64.3 (fines and suspensions) - "Regardless if a minor penalty for diving/embellishment is called, Hockey Operations will review game videos and assess fines to players who dive or embellish a fall or a reaction, or who feign injury. The first such incident during the season will result in a warning letter being sent to the player. The second such incident will result in a one thousand dollar ($1,000.00) fine. For a third such incident in the season, the player shall be suspended for one game, pending a telephone conversation with the Director of Hockey Operations. For subsequent violations in the same season, the player's suspension shall be doubled (i.e. one game, second suspension-two games, third suspension-four games, etc.)"
Michael, is there a doctor in the house?
Game 1 was great. Look for more hits and intensity to build in Game 2.
For a personally autographed copy of Final Call from TSN hockey analyst and former NHL referee Kerry Fraser, visit The Book Keeper website.
For a regular copy of Final Call from TSN hockey analyst and former NHL referee Kerry Fraser, visit here.