Fraser: Delay of game penalty when pucks enters penalty box

Kerry Fraser
3/6/2013 2:57:20 PM
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Hi Kerry,
I have a question regarding a player shooting the puck out over the boards when he's within his own blueline.
During the Chicago-Detroit game on Sunday, the puck went out with under two minutes to go and a penalty was issued to the Red Wings. However, the puck landed in the penalty box and Pierre McGuire made a comment that made it sound like if the puck had entered the penalty box without going over the crowd it should not be a penalty.
Does the rule not state that if a defensive player shoots the puck out of play from his own zone it is a penalty regardless of where the puck exits the play (ie. it could be shot over the boards at the other end of the rink and still be called delay of game)?
Need some clarification here!
B. Cook

Red Wing defencemen Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall had difficulty keeping the puck in play in the dying minutes of their game against Chicago on Sunday. Patrick Kane capitalized on the Ericsson miscue to tie the game and extend the Hawks amazing streak.

My good friend Pierre McGuire is usually bang-on with all his game analysis but in this case they changed the standard of enforcement on this play some time ago. Subsequently, a minor penalty would have applied regardless of the flight path of the puck if it landed in the penalty box/scorekeepers area.

In fairness to Pierre, when the rule was first instituted a puck shot into the penalty bench/scorekeepers area was treated the same as the players' bench and did not incur a penalty. This application resulted from an inconsistency in the height of the protective glass at the penalty box in various NHL arenas. Philadelphia was the last building where an exemption was granted due to shortened glass. 
Since the protective glass is now uniform in all NHL buildings the rule is applied as written:

"When a player, while in his defending zone, shoots or bats (using hand or his stick) the puck directly (non-deflected) out of the playing surface, except where there is no glass, a penalty shall be assessed for delaying the game. When the puck is shot into the players' bench, the penalty will not apply. When the puck is shot over the glass 'behind' the players' bench, the penalty will be assessed. When the puck goes out of the playing area directly off a face-off, no penalty shall be assessed."

'Cookie,' you are correct that a penalty would apply to a defending player who shot the puck from his defending zone directly over the glass anywhere in the rink with the exception of into the players' bench. This includes a puck shot over the glass (into the netting) at the opposite end of the ice!

Like the rule or hate it, players go straight to the penalty box when they shoot the puck over the glass and accept the responsibility for putting their team in the hole.  This rule is the most consistently applied one in the entire book by the referees. The only judgment the officials have to utilize on this call is whether the puck was deflected prior to exiting the playing surface. We have seen this penalty assessed at key times during Stanley Cup playoffs and the call has often been a game changer. The "puck over glass" infraction usually tops the list on James Duthie's tote board.

As my friend Pierre McGuire might now say, it was a "monster" goal that Patrick Kane scored in the Motor City on Sunday to keep the Hawks steak alive after Jonathan Ericsson shot the puck directly into the penalty bench regardless of its flight path.

Jonathan Ericsson (Photo: Dave Sandford/Getty Images)


(Photo: Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
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