Friday, July 29, 2022

Looking for your "always wondered but didn't know where to ask" hockey questions

Lately, we've been having fun on the podcasts with people sending in the simple questions they were always afraid to ask. Stuff like:

  • What's the neutral zone trap?
  • What's the dead puck era?
  • How do offsetting penalties work?
  • What does last line change mean?
  • Why do we say the red line was removed in 2005 when it's clearly still there?

I think these are great, because there are lots of new fans out there and we tend to just assume they know all this stuff. They don't, and as your teacher used to say, there are no dumb questions. So this is your chance to send in yours, and get an answer to that hockey thing that's been bugging you all this time.

Please send your questions via email at dgbmailbag@gmail.com.




74 comments:

  1. What are the rules for face offs? Why do players get kicked out sometimes?

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    Replies
    1. I came to ask this!

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    2. Most of the time it’s for false start

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  2. Can you show a graphic and explain the "homeplate" area around the goal that statisticians use?

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  3. Why did hockey clocks count up instead of down? Why can’t we go back to that?

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    1. International play will sometimes still use this rule it’s just a decision that specific league will use. It’s a difference of “there’s 12 minutes left to play” vs “we’ve played 8 minutes” as to what’s displayed and for one reason or another it’s easier to use the left to play method for score keeping or something of the sort

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  4. I never understood the “left-wing lock.”

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  5. I never know why faceoffs are where they are. I get they start each period at the center circle, but after that it is a mystery. I'd love a summary of the basics, especially picking one side of the goalie versus the other.

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    Replies
    1. Faceoffs all happen based on where the cause of the stoppage is. In your specific example of what side of the goalie a face off will happen on is all based on where the shot that led to the stoppage comes from so if a player on the goalies right shoots and the play is saved and whistled down or shot out of play it will take place in the circle to the goalies right.

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  6. How do hand passes work?

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  7. How is it that nobody ever steps on the puck during a warmup? There are pucks everywhere on the ice. How is that nor a hazard?

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  8. On a faceoff what's a winger win? Is it when the C gets kicked out so the winger takes the draw, or is it when there's a scrum after faceoff and the winger comes in and gets the puck? I think I've heard it used for both.

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  9. Why is so much hockey strategy based on giving possession to the opponent (red line and in for a change, dump and chase)?

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  10. What is the purpose for the yellow “dasher” around the boards? Why is it in different colours in some rinks?

    Why can’t NHL teams have designs on their helmets like the NFL?

    Why is there no summer league? Why shut down a business for months on end?

    And finally, who really let the dogs out?

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  11. Does private hockey analytics really vary that much from public data? Seems like there’s always a few cases of players obviously being much better/worse than their “perception” and I never understand why teams don’t even acknowledge it

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  12. Why don’t players just change immediately upon a broken stick rather than be half effective at best?

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    Replies
    1. I think they should get off the ice

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    2. Simple answer is a guy without a stick is more effective than no guy at all. A lot of times the change would take too long to get a player on the ice and in the play without creating a short handed situation for your team

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  13. In the vein of, "I might know, but have been too afraid to ask":

    What is the difference between forechecking and back checking?

    What is a "Filthy goal" of "dirty goal"?

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    Replies
    1. And is a “greasy goal” different from either of those two?

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    2. Forechecking is when you are the attacker applying pressure on the defending team in their own end. Back checking is when you are a defender attacking the offensive team from behind the play.

      As for the second question a filthy or dirty goal is a goal that requires effort and grit like battling for a puck and banging it in the goal in front of a net rather than just getting the puck and shooting it in. And yes a greasy goal is the same thing it’s all just different terminology

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  14. Why do team captains hover around the refs when they're discussing a call? The refs never change their mind based on the captains.... Do they?

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    Replies
    1. Nope! They hover just to get the information about the call from the refs to relay to the bench because it’s more efficient to have the captains receive the explanation and relay to their coaches than have the refs go to each bench and explain it twice

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  15. What exactly is the VH / Reverse VH thing I keep hearing about goalies?

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  16. Ok so hear me out. Teams take coincidental penalties, so they’re playing 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. Team A scores 30 seconds in. Does the payer in the box for Team B get released allowing Team B to play a man up for the next 90 seconds?

    Seems odd to get a disadvantage because you scored.. but on any other penalty, you score, the penalty is over and the penalized player is released… HALP.

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    Replies
    1. When both teams have penalties the rules apply as though it is regulation play except for the maximum players allowed on the ice because even though both teams are down a man it is still even strength and the rule that ends a penalty when the opposing team scores only applies when that team is on the man advantage

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  17. Why did the NHL switch from wearing white jerseys at home to darks at home?

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  18. What is so sacred about the positional system of C/LW/RW/LD/RD? Why doesn't anyone ever try something else?

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  19. How does the offside rule work when entering the zone? When tagging up, long-time fans all know you just have to touch (or now, cross the plane) of the defensive edge of the blue line to get onside, buy I'm still unclear on zone entries despite being a lifetime fan. Is it determined based on the trailing part of a player's body relative to the defensive edge of the line at the monent when the puck completely crosses the defensive edge of the blue line, or did I get some piece of that wrong? Does the neutral edge of the blue line ever matter?

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  20. How do the US and Canadian junior hockey systems work? What’s the difference between the different leagues/paths to the NHL?

    Also, when a player plays for the national development team, what does that mean? How does that compare to playing for a junior/minor team?

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  21. Why are goalies allowed to high stick the puck when trying to stop a rim on the glass?

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  22. Why do some people refer to a lot of PIMs with a sense of pride? With all we know about 5x5 scoring versus PP scoring, how could anyone take pride in getting a penalty?

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  23. Why is there a "starter's net" and who determined which side it would be on?

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  24. Why do goalies scrape the ice on and around the crease after the ice is smoothed at the start of each period?

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    Replies
    1. Because a goalie will come to their crease at the start of the period and they scrape up the surface with their skates So that they can get rid of the water so they don’t go to slide and have their pads get stuck because they are wet and adhering to the ice

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  25. Why don’t goalies get out in the penalty box for penalties they commit? I’ve heard that it means a back-up goalie would have to come in cold, but isn’t that what back-up goalies do no matter when they come in?

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  26. Why do all arenas announce the last minute of play in each period? Shouldn’t the bench keep an eye on the clock?

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    Replies
    1. Yes and they do it’s mostly their for fans but also for the players on the ice because they are focused on the game and can’t always peek up at the clock

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  27. Why can’t a goalie be captain?

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    1. It became a rule because the captains job is to talk to referees when a call needs to be explained to relay it to the benches but a goalie is not permitted to be on the skating surface outside of their end during normal play and regular stoppages. so when a bench needs an explanation usually they tell the captain on the ice (Captain or alternate) and they ask the ref and then go back to the bench but in order to do that with a goalie they have to come from their net to the bench, bench to ref, ref to bench and then back to their net. So there was teams abusing this to get rest for their players that were stuck due to an icing call or just double shifting by getting their goalie to leisurely skate through all of the above so the league made it a rule a goalie couldn’t be captain

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  28. What is hockey IQ, really? Isn’t it just IQ? Or can a guy who would be a complete knucklehead in the real world still have elite hockey IQ?

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  29. How does one determine who "wins" a faceoff?

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  30. What makes the refs decide to “wave off icing”?

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  31. Two pieces of commentator terminology that I’ve realized I couldn’t explain to another person - what they mean by “cheat,” and what makes a “saucer pass” different from any other kind of pass.

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    Replies
    1. When they refer to a player or goalie “cheating” it’s usually referring that they are not playing in the position that they should be for that play but instead playing in a position that’s somewhere between where they should be and where the player anticipates the play would be requiring them to move to instead of staying in position and moving when the play does.

      A saucer pass is simply a pass that leaves a players stick, elevates off of the ice and then falls back to the ice on the recipient’s stick whereas a normal pass the puck does not leave the ice

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  32. What are the qualities that determine whether an NHL-level player is seen as a “good” or “bad” skater? I can barely stay upright on ice skates, so they all seem like good skaters to me.

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  33. Why do most players shoot left handed even though there are more right handed people in the world?

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    Replies
    1. The top hand (right hand in the case of your question) controls the finer intricate motions of the stick, lower hand (left hand) provides more stability and power, hence more players shooting “left” when they are “right” hand dominant

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  34. How strict are the rules about goalie equipment? If a dude wanted to, could he forgo a stick and use 2 catching mits? If he wants, could he use smaller pads and regular skates and a more regular stick and play as the hockey version of a sweeper keeper?

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    Replies
    1. I.e, on a power play, could you have a specialist who plays like a 3rd d, considering he probably wont have to stop many pucks.

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    2. The rules for equipment for all players on the ice is strict down to the letter. Every piece of equipment the skaters and goalies wear is exactly as the rules state

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    3. It’s the role of the center to be a ‘third D’ when needed.

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  35. Please, please addres the offsetting penalties thing. I watch a ton of hockey and still get surprised sometimes by how many guys end up on the ice after a bunch of simultaneous calls.

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  36. When a goalie takes a penalty, why does someone else serve it for them? Assuming they weren't injured earlier, there's a backup who could sub in.

    Sure, they might be in the box longer than 2 minutes. But that happens all the time for skaters (offsetting penalties, 5 minute majors, etc.).

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  37. Why is the gap between a goalie’s legs called the “five hole” and why aren’t the other inter-appendage gaps numbered as well?

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    Replies
    1. It’s because the other gaps actually are numbered! Each gap in the net that a goalie isn’t occupying (I.e. over shoulder, under arm etc) has an assigned number and the between the legs hole is “5”. As for why it’s the only one called out for it’s number is just one of those things that’s kinda just how it’s always been so people keep doing it

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  38. Is every team that has won the cup ACTUALLY on the cup? For example the Kenora Thistles won in 1907. Are they on the cup? I know they add rings but over 100 years of teams seems like a lot to be in there

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    1. Short answer is no. But the reason is because the league decided at a certain point the Cup shouldn’t get any bigger or players wouldn’t be able to lift it anymore so now what they do is every (I think) 50-60 years a ring is on the cup it gets retired and they add a new blank ring to the bottom and all the existing ones move up. So the teams that have won aren’t all on there but the rings are all archived in the HOF and viewable

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  39. What the hell are the refs looking at for unfair face offs? Although I do love it when teammates run into each other switching, after one gets thrown out.

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  40. When 2 players are given fighting majors, the teams still are 5 on 5. Why aren't they 4 on 4?

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  41. Why do some penalties add players, while others take them away. For example, a penalty at 5v5 will create a 5v4, but a penalty at 4v4 will create a 4v5 (I think, I forget when this comes into play which is the whole point of the question)

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    1. The only time this would come into affect is in over time when regular play is 3v3 and a penalty is taken then the team getting the power play would get a 4v3. Because the NHL rules dictate the minimum amount of players a team can have is 3. During regular play however the default is 5v5 so when a penalty is taken it drops the offenders team a man where you can have 5v4, 5v3, 4v4, 4v3 and very very very rarely 3v3. To add a layer of difficulty to this if a team is down to only 3 players during regulation play (ie 5v3) and takes another penalty no more players can be subtracted or added so the player who takes the penalty won’t have their penalty timer start until one of the other 2 penalties have ended

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  42. Precisely what is slew-footing?

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  43. Why do some penalties that clearly seem to be offsetting (both players still end up with the teams playing 4 on 4 while most are played 5 on 5 (with the penalized players in the box)

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    Replies
    1. Because it depends on what the penalties actually being called are. If the refs call. Offsetting roughing penalties then it’s 4 on 4 be see a roughing penalty is a call that results in a 2 minute minor that shorthand’s a team but if they call off setting unsportsmanlike penalties those are penalties that don’t shorthand a team because they are only a punishment for the player not his team

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  44. The team “system” is frequently referenced and different “systems” are compared or it’s a point of speculation how one “system” will fare against another “system”. Are there a few generic ones that a lot of teams use that you could outline and explain what the differences are?

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  45. Where exactly is the half wall?

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  46. What does it mean to "headband" (?or headbang) the puck? I've heard multiple color commentators over the years use this in the context of passing, and it seems like it means something more specific than just "pass", but I've never been able to figure out what.

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    Replies
    1. HeadMAN the puck. Pass it up to a player further up ice than you.

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    2. That makes a lot more sense. Thanks!

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  47. What are waivers? What does it mean for a player to be acquired on waivers or to clear waivers?

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  48. Intentional offsides ??? Why or when is this getting called vs not

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  49. How did certain areas of the rink get their names (aside from the areas that are obviously named after the geometry laid out on the ice like the crease or the hash-marks)? Why is the area around the blue line called "the point" or the area along the boards near the face-off circles called "the half wall?" There are also terms like "the slot" and "the train tracks" which seem to have more intuitive origins. Did these become codified hockey slang or are they based on concrete definitions?

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