Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The NHL rulebook has a problem, but we can fix it by removing one word

 You remember the moment. It’s Game Six of the playoff series between Seattle and Colorado, with the defending champs fighting for their playoff lives and the hometown fans agonizing through the most important game in the Kraken’s short-lived franchise history. It’s late in the second period, with the Avalanche having just scored to go up by two. Colorado’s Andrew Cogliano leans forward near the boards, trying to make a tough play to get a bouncing puck out of the zone. Seattle’s Jordan Eberle hits him from behind, launching him headfirst into the boards.

What’s the call? It’s a penalty, for sure, but is it two or five? Is it a match?

If you’re a rulebook nerd and/or you read my explainer from earlier this year, you know it’s not a clearcut question. There are lots of different penalties in the NHL rulebook, and almost as many different ways to parse the minor/major distinction. But boarding, the call on this play, is one of the many where at least part of the distinction comes down to the question of injury.

In this case, Cogliano got up and went to the room. He seemed shaken, but otherwise OK, and in fact he even returned to the game in the third period. Then, after the game, he was diagnosed with a fractured neck. If the Avs had advanced, he would have been sidelined for the rest of the postseason.

Eberle got two minutes, at least partly because it was determined that the guy whose neck he’d just broken hadn’t been injured.

What are we doing here?

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

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