know that rule, thanks.
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.
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").
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.