Thursday, May 4, 2023

Should that penalty be a minor or a major? It’s not as simple as you might think

This postseason has had some minor controversies. And also some major ones.

That’s pretty standard in the NHL, but this year the twist is that a lot of these controversies really are about minor vs. major. As in: Is this a two-minute minor penalty, or a five-minute major? Or is it maybe a match penalty, which is also five minutes, but apparently different from a major?

A big part of this year’s story is the still relatively new process of reviewing major and match penalty calls. Referees can now take another look in certain situations where the original call was five minutes, just to make sure. It’s a nice idea, even if it doesn’t always work. But it leads to a bigger question.

Do you know the difference between a minor and a major?

On one level, of course you do: One if two and one is five, and if it’s five then the penalty won’t end on a powerplay goal. The minors are for fouls that are, well, minor, while the majors are for the ones that cross the line into something more.

That’s all true, but it’s frustratingly vague. And if you’re a hockey fan, I’m guessing it may be one of those things where you assume you’re supposed to just know the right answer, so you’ve never bothered to asked.

Well, let’s go ahead and ask it. What does the rulebook say? What’s the criteria that separates a minor penalty from a major?

The short answer: It’s not that simple.

For the longer answer, we have to dig into the rulebook a bit. Because as it turns out, while a lot of this is reasonably well-defined, the criteria changes significantly based on what penalty is being called.

If you’ve always assumed that there was one consistent answer that applies to everything, you’re going to be frustrated. But if you just want to figure out what the referees are doing out there, and maybe have an article you can bookmark and revisit the next time a minor/major debate breaks out, then I’ve got you covered.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

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