Fraser: Buying time on the faceoff after an icing call

Kerry Fraser
6/18/2013 2:54:36 PM
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Hi Kerry,
Do you think teams should get delay of game penalties when they ice the puck and the winger goes to take the draw and gets waved out (on purpose?) so his centre can take the draw?
I've noticed this through the entire playoffs this year - do you think this is something on the minds of the officials as well? Could this be proven in any way and if so, wouldn't you say that is more of a delay of game call than the one where they shoot the puck over the glass?
Randy Kataluk,
Coral Harbour, NU


There is no doubt that coaches instruct their players to utilize a first face-off ejection by a non-center to grab a few extra seconds of breathing time following an icing infraction. They aren't fooling anyone; especially the Linesmen.

In an effort to minimize this ploy I have noticed the Linesmen initiate the face process very quickly and then eject the 'decoy' for a first violation almost as soon as he arrives at the face-off dot. Beyond that, there is little at this juncture that can be done to alter the process.

You do bring up an interesting point for discussion Randy, even though I wouldn't necessarily endorse an immediate delay of game penalty in this instance. The Officials cannot (or should not) control who the coach selects to take the draw. Their job is to conduct a fair face-off as quickly as humanly possible to uphold the integrity of the no-change icing rule.

The rules, however, are already in place to penalize a team that commits a second face-off violation during the same face-off. This infraction is very seldom enforced and we have seen where the standard can be relaxed on the second face-off in an effort to avoid a call that brings undue attention to the Linesmen. If you really want to get the attention of a team that sends a 'sacrificial offering' into the face-off circle conduct that second one to the letter of the law and impose a second face-off violation penalty when deserved.

It's hard to blame the Linesmen for a less stringent standard after ejecting the first center since in the overall complexion of any game a second face-off violation doesn't rank up there with other game control, restraining or aggressive situations that the Referees might deem unworthy of a penalty. Very little support is also offered the Linesmen whenever they have enforced a second face-off violation. 

The first time a penalty was called for this rule everyone went ballistic; including the Hockey Operations Department.  A Linesmen's judgment was placed into question when he ejected a second centreman near the end of a close game as bedlam was being allowed to take place with a "let 'em play" standard by the Refs. It didn't take long for the message to be relayed through the chain of command as to what the expected practice was with regard to a second face-off violation. There's an old saying that there is no faster method of communication than the "telephone, telegraph or just tell a Hockey Official!"

So Randy, if this ploy on an icing is something that anyone would really like to address I would send the message that the second face-off would be conducted to the letter and a penalty would quickly result if a violation were to occur. At that point, the Linesmen would deserve our full support.

On The Radar Screen From Game 3:

- Call it for what it was: Kaspars Daugavins left his feet and elbowed Andrew Shaw to the ear. (Last time I checked the ear is attached to the head?) The official penalty summary lists "roughing" as being assessed by the Referee. The most obvious infraction choice is elbowing; followed by illegal check to the head or charging but certainly not roughing. Additionally, please enforce charging rule next season in an effort to keep players' skates on the ice when delivering a check. The height advantage gained is often cerebral!

- Don't overreact in scrum and player battle situations: Shawn Thornton was singled out for an early penalty in a scrum with Andrew Shaw. David Bolland was assessed a trip when he and Jonny Boychuk tangled up as Bolland attempted to get into his players' bench for a line change at 19:00 minutes of the second period. Neither were strong penalty calls and an overreaction; especially in a Stanley Cup Final game. 

- Niklas Hjalmarsson tripping call on Daniel Paille: I liked this call as viewed on NBC even though the other Network in Canada apparently had an overhead shot of Hjalmarsson contacting the puck just a 'split-hair' prior to taking down Paille. On this bang-bang, desperation dive made by the Hawk defenceman it certainly appeared to me that Hjalmarsson's first point of contact with his glove and stick shaft was to the right skate of Paille followed by the puck on the wrap-around of his stick. This was certainly too close to call with the naked eye in real-time and the benefit goes to Referee Chris Rooney. I have never understood why we allow a defender, from a poor position, make a desperation dive and touch the puck with his stick an instant prior to wiping out the attacker. This is regarded as a 'good defensive play' while in reality the attacker is tripped and eliminated on the play or from regaining puck possession. This play always occurs with an attacker in a scoring position or on a breakaway. Perhaps time to reassess this policy given the tighter restraining standards that are expected to be called?

- Assess differential when deserved in illegal battles regardless of game time: Zdeno Chara was fully deserving of an extra minor penalty for his overly aggressive actions with Bryan Bickell at 19:48 of the third period. I'm not suggesting penalizing Big Z for being stronger; just more aggressive in his illegal actions. Treating this altercation as coincidental does not equate to the Thornton or Bolland penalties earlier in the game.

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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