Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Question for you from Monday night's Rangers-Kings game. In the second period, Derek Stepan beat Drew Doughty to the puck at the red line. Doughty hooked Stepan at the blue line (before Stepan had a clear path to the net) and the Ref's hand went up for a hooking minor. Stepan maintained control of the puck and Doughty - after regaining control of his stick - hooked Stepan again from the other side, but after Stepan had a clear path to the net and the hook negated a shot on goal/scoring chance. The call was two minutes for hooking.
What was the correct call?
a) Two minutes for the original hook (as was called)
b) Two minutes for the original hook and a penalty shot for the second hook
c) Penalty shot for the second hook/combination which prevented a scoring chance
It seems the by-the-book interpretation would be two plus a penalty shot. How would you see it by-the-book or on-the-ice?
The Referee must patrol the ice with the book in his hip pocket at all times. Sound judgment is always required to enforce the rules and penalize violations as they occur. Whenever the Referee signals a delayed penalty, the meter continues to run and any subsequent infractions committed by that player or one of his teammates need to be assessed.
On this play Dave, my call is to award Derek Stepan with a penalty shot and also assess the first hooking minor penalty to Doughty as per Rule 24: "If the offence for which the penalty shot was awarded was such as to incur a double-minor penalty, or where the offending team is assessed an additional minor penalty on the same play in which a penalty shot was awarded, the first minor penalty is not assessed since the penalty shot was awarded to restore the lost scoring opportunity. The second minor penalty would be assessed and served regardless of whether the penalty shot results in a goal."
In review, the first hook/interference by Doughty, while perhaps seemingly minor and did little to impede the forward progress of Stepan, it is nonetheless an infraction that the Officials have been instructed to call. Doughty was in poor position and beaten on the play and attempted to contain, or at the very least detain, Stepan. I fully support the Ref in making this call.
Once Stepan took off in full flight and gained puck possession at the Kings blue line with no other player to pass but the goalkeeper, the Ref's mindset and conscious awareness must shift to the potential of a penalty shot should a foul from behind occur. (We also know from Rule 24.8 (iii) that Derek Stepan did not require possession and control of the puck for a penalty shot to result from his position in the neutral/attacking zone if, in the judgment of the Referee, Stepan clearly would have obtained possession and control of the puck prior to being fouled from behind.)
In fairness to the Referee, once Stepan gained full possession and control, he exposed the puck to his left side while cutting toward the goal. Just as Stepan was about to pull the puck to his right and make a play on net, Doughty was able to make stick-to-stick contact which aided in propelling the puck off Stepan's stick just in front and to the right of the Ranger shooter. Doughty continued his stick motion into the hands and across the midsection of Stepan, thereby preventing Derek from regaining the puck which was, in my opinion, well within his reach. The Referee however may have deemed that the active and legal stick by Doughty prior to the second hook eliminated Stepan's scoring opportunity.
Regardless of any 'hair splitting' as to whether Stepan was denied a scoring opportunity on this play, a double minor penalty should have been assessed to Doughty for the two separate infractions he committed.
If you care to read on, I have a personal example to share. One night in the Calgary Saddledome, the Vancouver Canucks went on the power play. I had previously warned big Todd Bertuzzi about clearing space for himself in front of the Flames goal by shoving defenders from behind and to the ice. This was interference and my warning came with the promise of a penalty being called should it continue.
Well you can guess what happened next. Big Bert knocked a defenceman to the ice as a shot was taken from the point and I immediately raised my arm for a delayed penalty. Bertuzzi saw my arm in the air, rolled his eyes and then slashed the ankles of another Flame. I pointed at Bert with my free hand, signaling a second infraction. Once play finally stopped, Bertuzzi punched another Flame player in the face with his glove, either in frustration or defiance. I assessed three minor penalties plus a misconduct to Bert in that sequence. Coach Marc Crawford gave his power forward some considerable bench time once he returned from serving 16 minutes in the penalty box!
The next night, I was assigned to the Canucks against the Oilers in Northlands Coliseum. As I walked into the rink past Bert and his Canuck teammates, their friendly warm-up with a soccer ball came to a screeching halt as Bertuzzi gave me the icy stare. As I passed by, I offered a nod of my head and courteous "Good evening, Bert!" The stare intensified and no immediate response was forthcoming.
When I was a good 15 feet past the Canucks gathering, Bertuzzi called out, "Hey Kerry, are you going for the quad tonight?" I turned, looked directly at big Todd and replied, "That's entirely up to you, Bert!"
Bertuzzi didn't take a penalty in that game as he played with self-control and discipline. I can tell you that from that moment on, I enjoyed a terrific working relationship with Bert throughout the remainder of my career. I believe it was a relationship built on mutual respect but also with the knowledge that the once the flag went up, the "meter continued to run."