Be the Referee!!!
Welcome to our Rule/Situation(s) of Week!
Welcome back! In this week’s column, we will go over a situation that happens several times every year; two teams refusing to play the puck! Yep, that’s right, there is sometime situations where both teams avoids from playing the puck in order to both gain an advantage! Not convinced?
Thankfully, the rulebook has rule #72 (Refusing to play the puck) to help the referees when this happen! Let’s pretend for a second that Team A is shorthanded and that Team B high-stick the puck in Team A’s end-zone. Now if Team B touches the puck, the whistle will be blown and the next face-off will in Team B’s end-zone as they committed this infraction while being on a powerplay! Knowing this, Team B players will then avoid playing the puck. Now let’s take Team A’s players mind set on this same play! Team B high-stick the puck, they know that Team B doesn’t want to play the puck in order to have the next face-off deep in their own end-zone. But let’s not forget that Team A is also killing a penalty! Why playing the puck when you can kill some of that penalty time by not playing the puck? This is the perfect example here of both teams refusing to play the puck in order to both gain an advantage! What is the procedure when this happen? Where will be the next face-off?
Rule #72, refusing to play the puck was created in order to enforce continuous action! So, once, the referees have determined that both teams will not be playing the puck (usually after 4-5 seconds have elapsed) one referee will then blow the play dead and follow rule #72 to determine where the next face-off with be held. The majority of the time, the face-off will be held at the nearest face-off dot in the zone where the play was stopped as both teams refused to play the puck. Both teams were gaining an advantage by refusing to play the puck; this is why the next face-off is held in that same zone.
When a delayed penalty was signalled or when a penalty is assessed at the whistle creating an on-ice strength change (penalty going on the clock for just one team!), then the next face-off will is held in the penalized team end-zone as this is not one of the four exemptions under the face-off locations when a team is being penalized!
Now, let’s see some different situations where both teams are refusing to play the puck and the proper actions taken by the referees!
A defending team player attempts to clear the puck out of his defending zone. The attacking defenseman, just inside the attacking blue line, knocks the puck out of the air with a high-stick and the puck lands just inside the blue line in the attacking zone. Both teams abstain from playing the puck. Where is the ensuing face-off?
The ensuing face-off shall be conducted at the end zone face-off spot in the zone in which the puck was in when the whistle was blown. Since the attacking team illegally contacted the puck with a high-stick, the only team that can legally play it is the defending team, and they have abstained from playing the puck. Therefore, the face-off stays in the end zone and must go to the nearest face-off spot in that zone. Rule 72.3, Rule 76.2 & Rule 80.1.
Defending player in his defending zone bats the puck with his hand into the neutral zone and players from both teams refuse to play the puck. What happens? Where is the ensuing face-off?
The Referee shall stop the play and order the resulting face-off at the nearest face-off location to where the play was stopped for this violation. Rule 72.2 and 72.3. The rationale is that the team that batted the puck cannot play the puck, only the opposing team can, and should they abstain, the whistle is blown and the face-off stays right there.
A delayed penalty for slashing is then signaled against a player on Team A. The puck is loose in the corner in team B’s defending zone and both teams are refusing to play the puck. What is the Referee’s decision? Where is the ensuing face-off location?
The Referee shall stop play and the ensuing face-off shall take place in Team A’s defending zone. Rule 72.5 and Rule 76.2
Team A in on a powerplay. A team A player high-stick the puck in Team B end-zone. The puck is loose in the corner of Team B’s defending zone and both team are refusing to play the puck. What is the Referee’s decision? Where is the ensuing face-off location?
The Referee shall stop play and the ensuing face-off shall take place in Team B’s defending zone. Rule 72.5 and Rule 76.2
See you next Monday!
Every Monday during the regular season schedule, we will explain in this column some bizarre or uncommon game situations/rules. Hockey is a particular game when it comes to the rulebook. Hockey officials need to know their rules but more important they have to know the interpretation and application of them! We will see in the next several months, in this series of articles, that a rule hassometimes two different applications depending on the situation that occurred on the ice. This is not theofficialsdeciding on the outcome of the gameshere, by deciding to apply or not the rule, but is rather the interpretation and the application of that rule along with itsintent that dictatesthe final decision made by the officials on the ice! This is not a column to promote or defend our officials but rather an educational tool for all hockey fans and hockey officials to acquire a better understanding of the game of hockey! So let’s start to see if you know your NHL rules! Wewill help you better understand some decisions made by NHL officials some nights and hopefully making you better “couch” referee!