Monday, June 8, 2009

Dumb Moments in Hockey: Players who point at the stands on a delay of game call


Yes, actually I did
know that rule, thanks.
This is the first post in a new series that will celebrate those small moments in any given NHL game that often pass unnoticed, but are nevertheless completely dumb.

There are two problems with the NHL's "puck over the glass" delay of game rule.

The first is that it's a complete farce of a penalty, one invented out of thin air by a league that has no clue how to improve the flow of the five-on-five game and so relies on made-up penalties to artificially inflate scoring through powerplays. The puck-over-the-glass rule doesn't solve an existing problem, utterly fails in it stated goal of speeding up the game, and occasionally determines the outcome of critical contests absent even the slightest illusion of fairness. It's a complete sham, yet another stain on the credibility of a league that has squandered that asset almost completely.

The second, and far more important problem, is that it annoys me.

And here's why: somewhere along the way, this stupid rule managed to become the only infraction in the rulebook that every NHL player thinks the referee needs their personal assistance with.

You've seen the scene unfold a hundred time. A player in his own zone tries to clear a puck, gets under it a little bit, and accidentally flips the puck into the crowd. Immediately, every single player on the other team seeks out the nearest referee and begins madly pointing at the stands.

Why?

What do they think they're accomplishing? Has there ever been a case where a referee has looked back with a confused look on his face to ask if anything was the matter, only to smack his forehead V8-style and then thank the players for reminding him about the rule?

No. Not one single time. Nobody forgets this rule. We all know it, because it's burned into our minds, because it's stupid.

Look, an NHL referee is not going to just somehow forget to enforce a rule that's right there in the rulebook, in black and white, crystal clear for all to see. That's Colin Campbell's job.

And yet somehow, players feel the need help the referees make this call. Why?

When one player trips an opponent, do five guys immediately feel the need to point to the offender while seeking out a referee? When a player makes an extra move at the blue line and causes a teammate to skate in ahead of him, does the other team immediately point at him to remind the linesman to call an offside? When a Montreal Canadien forward pursues a defenceman on an icing call, do his teammates immediately start signaling the five-minute boarding major that's just seconds away?

No. It's just this one penalty, in the entirety of the NHL rulebook, that the players feel the need to help out with.

Well, I want the league to put a stop to it. Forget head shots, this is the sort of the thing the rules committee needs to be focusing on. And luckily, there's a simple solution.

I'm proposing a new rule: Unless your team has just scored a goal, it's a two-minute penalty for raising your arms over your shoulders.

Think about. When do we see a player's arm go up? Three situations:
  • Pointing at a puck over the glass.
  • Whining dramatically about some obviously correct call the referee just made against you (a.k.a, "The McCabe").
  • Feigning innocence over a holding or hooking call, as if to say "I couldn't possibly have been holding, because my hands are way up here over my head!" (a.k.a. "The Other McCabe").
Would anyone object if all those things just became automatic penalties? Exactly. Players would just need to learn to instinctively keep their arms down. Maybe they could pretend that they're Kerry Fraser during a crucial overtime.

If anything, it would at least change the idiotic puck-over-glass rule from being a senseless and random game-changing penalty, and into a strategic element. Game not going your way? Flip a puck over the glass, and see how many guys on the other team you can send to the box. If it's a good flip, you may get all five.

Hell, chances are that as soon as one team started pointing, the other team would start pointing at them to remind the referee of the new penalty. With any luck, it could set off a chain reaction that would result in all 18 skaters on either side being sent off.

And you know what that means: one-on-one goalie battles. That's excitement. And not one iota dumber than the current rule.

I'm drunk, by the way.




17 comments:

  1. "Look, an NHL referee is not going to just somehow forget to enforce a rule that's right there in the rulebook, in black and white, crystal clear for all to see. That's Colin Campbell's job."

    Only true because Kerry Fraser has now retired.

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  2. Karina beat me to the joke.

    More drunk posts plznthnx.

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  3. I wholeheartedly agree! It's comical to watch half the players on the ice point to the stands. "Hey Ref....REF!!!! It's over THERE! Yea, it went....HEY....OVER THERE! Yea, where I'm pointing!"

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  4. I strongly agree with you regarding this rule and the jab at Mr. Campbell.

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  5. the Surreal McCoyJune 8, 2009 at 11:50 PM

    i've got to stop reading your blogs while my pregnant wife is asleep on the couch - i always wake her up with my laughter, and that ain't helping my future first rounder grow.. although, the wife's used to it enough now to grogilly ask if "Doug Brown" has a new post..

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  6. When a Montreal Canadien forward pursues a defenceman on an icing call, do his teammates immediately start signaling the five-minute boarding major that's just seconds away?

    Golden.

    You're frighteningly funny when sober, but I'm with s.: more drunk posts ...

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  7. Another winner.
    By all means more drunk posts.
    One on On goalie battles ..hmmm I dunno that could work.

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  8. Stupidest rule ever. The correct way to address this:
    Puck over glass - treat it like icing. Offending team can't change lines, face off in their end.

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  9. I'm here to suggest that alcoholism may be the way to propel your blog to the top of the internets.

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  10. Stupidest rule ever. The correct way to address this:
    Puck over glass - treat it like icing. Offending team can't change lines, face off in their end.

    Perfect!

    I will spread the word

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  11. Who's a big haired idiot?

    (Point, Point!)

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  12. DGB, what do you think about coaches also being subject to the "no raising of arms" rule?

    It would eliminate the "I can't believe you didn't reward my player's obvious dive with a penalty" display (the "Laviolette"), and the "I can't believe you called an obvious, fully deserved penalty on one of my players" demonstration (the "Other Laviolette").

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  13. @Varry Galk ...

    Sounds good, but only if we get a special exemption for Pat Burns waving a towel over his head in frustration.

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  14. I'll defend the players here, any league that would employ Bill McCreary is one that would have a ref who is unfamiliar with the rulebook since he pulls one out of his ass at least once a game.

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  15. Karina and s. beat me to the joke. Dammit.

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  16. Whining dramatically about some obviously correct call the referee just made against you (a.k.a, "The McCabe").

    LMAO

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  17. it was actually created back in the infancy of the game when people would play the full 60 minutes of a game by themselves and they would do it for a break. good writing though

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