Fraser: Hall on Clutterbuck follows Rule 50.1 word for word

Kerry Fraser
2/22/2013 1:02:00 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry Fraser wants to answer your emails at!

Taylor Hall on Cal Clutterbuck. To me, there was obviously no intentional knee by Hall but yet a five and a ten? Why does it seem that whenever someone is hurt that the big guns come out (major penalties)? Can you elaborate on this mindset or are the referees mandated to drop the majors on plays when someone is hurt?
Dan Griffith
Lethbridge, AB


This was a textbook example of a kneeing penalty as defined in Rule 50.1 - Kneeing is the act of a player leading with his knee and in some cases extending his leg outwards to make contact with his opponent.

Whenever an injury results to a player hit in this manner the Referee's best discretion and judgment would be to assess a major penalty which is accompanied by an automatic game misconduct. The kneeing major penalty and game misconduct assessed by Referees Don VanMassenhoven and Marc Joannette to Taylor Hall for leading with his knee in a leg check on Clutterbuck is without question the correct call.

Dan, while Hall might not have intended to take out Clutterbuck with a leg hit as you suggest, the fact remains that Hall set himself in advance of the attempted check by protruding and leading with his left knee. Principle contact on the hit was not made with Hall's upper body but through his left leg and thigh; the same leg that Hall set as the leading edge for the check.

On a North-South hit a checker can easily lose body position as his opponent shifts laterally. Typically a knee can be extended at the last second to make the checker "bigger" when it appears he is going to miss his opponent.

Marchment played for nine teams throughout his 17 season NHL career and is the one player that comes to my mind who often utilized a protruded knee to catch his opponent that made a lateral shift. Marchment was suspended 13 times in his first 12 seasons in the NHL for deliberate attempts to injure opponents. Marchment's history for leg to leg hits were one of the contributing factors for the League to include major and game misconduct penalties to Rule 50 - Kneeing.

Marchment was so feared (and often hated) by opponents that guys on the bench would shout a loud warning whenever Marchment had their teammate in his sights! On more than one occasion I ejected Bryan from the game with a kneeing major, game misconduct or a match penalty.

Once the major penalty was added to the rule, we (the Referees) were instructed to impose it whenever a player extended his knee or led with it to make contact to the leg/knee of an opponent and where injury resulted. Leg to leg contact poses a real safety issue with the potential to end a player's career; including to the player who uses his knee in a checking fashion. 

Clutterbuck was in excruciating pain following the check to his knee. I'm not about to make a medical determination but as I watched the pain on Cal's face I relived the experience of blowing out my ACL while playing in a playoff game as a 15 year old. The pain was the worst I have ever felt for a matter of 20-30 seconds and then it just stopped. They didn't repair the ACL back then but instead just cleaned out the entire medial meniscus cartilage.

Fortunately, I was able to continue finish playing Junior hockey prior to enjoying a 30+ year career as a Referee with the NHL even without my ACL.

Fortunately for Clutterbuck, it appears that he will not need to take advantage of modern surgical procedures.  I truly hope that this gritty player heals quickly and returns to action with a full recovery.

Also Of Note:

The Chicago Blackhawks have the opportunity to set a record this weekend for consecutive wins following their almost flawless start. I will be in the Windy City this weekend as well but unable to attend their games.

This Sunday, I am most humbly being inducted into the Sports Faith International Hall of Fame, a Catholic organization founded by Chicago Bears owner, Mr. Pat McCaskey. The induction ceremonies take place at Chicago Bears Halas Hall. I will be entering this Hall in the Professional category with NFL Legendary coach, Vince Lombardi, Major League Baseball star, Sal Bando, former Univ. of Notre Dame and Chicago Bear great Bob Wetoska, and Fr. Burke Masters a former All American and Chicago White Sox organization baseball player prior to receiving a higher call.

Terry Brennan, former Univ. of Notre Dame player and coach will be inducted into the College Hall of Fame, World record distance swimmer and two time Olympian, Kate Ziegler will enter the Olympics Hall of Fame while Bishop Tom Paprocki, of Diocese of Springfield, IL and known as the 'Holy Goalie' after practicing with both the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets will receive the Light of Christ Award.

A pre-Hall of Fame All-Star panel event, offered in conjunction with Sports Leader and hosted by Ron Meyer of EWTN Sports' Blessed 2 Play will be held on Saturday from 2pm-5pm at Northwestern University McCormick Auditorium. I join Kate Ziegler, NFL/Oakland Raiders Hall of Fame player Dave Casper and Sports Leader Chaplain, Fr. Jacob Dumont, LC on the panel.

The weekend events are open to the public and you can get ticket information by going on the Sports Faith International web site or by calling Angela Tomlinson at 847-331-6994.

Have a blessed weekend, everyone!

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser is an analyst for the NHL on TSN and That's Hockey 2Nite on TSN2. As one of the league's most recognizable senior referees, he's worked 1,904 NHL regular season games and 261 playoff games during his 37-year career.

Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at!

You can also follow Kerry Fraser on Twitter at @kfraserthecall!

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