The Hockey Basics from a Columbus Blue Jackets Fan- Part 2

BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 20: Referee disallows apparent Sabres goal during the Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres NHL game on November 20, 2017, at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY. (Photo by John Crouch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 20: Referee disallows apparent Sabres goal during the Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres NHL game on November 20, 2017, at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY. (Photo by John Crouch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Over the years there have been some Columbus Blue Jackets’ players that are known for spending time in the penalty box. From two minute minor penalties to five minute major all the way up to a misconduct penalty, there are many ways to see the inside of the penalty box in any given game. Understanding why they got there is the hard part.

There are a lot of ways that the play stops in a hockey game but the most detrimental one is when your team takes a penalty. As the offending team you lose a player for a set period of time and the other team goes on a “man advantage”. This is most teams best chance to add a point to the board as there will always be a man unguarded and most teams score about 20% of the time (don’t get me started on the Columbus Blue Jackets power play right now).

For some reason when the official tells us why there was a penalty, 50-75% of the time their microphone doesn’t work and we are left in the dark. I figured on this round of “Hockey Basics” that I would cover what those common penalties are. Before I get into the types of penalties though, I want to cover the concept of a delayed penalties.

Next: Don't miss Hockey Basics: Part 1

When a penalty is taken by a team then you will see an official raise their arm straight up and hold it there. This indicates that there is a delayed penalty that will be called when the other team touches the puck. Even though the penalty has occurred the play won’t be stopped until the offending team can touch the puck. In a lot of circumstances you will see the team with the puck send their goalie to the bench as soon as they can and put an extra attacker on the ice. This can allow a team to get a man advantage for longer than the time of the penalty as long as they can keep control of the puck. Once the offending touches the puck then play is immediately blown dead and the penalty is announced.

Most of the penalties in the NHL are two minute minor violations. The ones that I am going to focus on today are hooking, slashing, tripping, and too many men on the ice. Each of these penalties will cause a player to sit, at least, two minutes inside the penalty box opposite the team bench. Some of these sounds super straight forward but for some reason have a niche that makes them not as clear as expected.

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Penalties Explained

Hooking and slashing are very similar to each other in the fact that they are penalties that are caused by the misuse of the stick in a play. Hooking is commonly found in a play where a defender is getting beat. They will reach around the player ahead of them and use the stick to slow the player down. Slashing is the act of swinging a stick at a player or players stick without the effort of playing the puck. This is often done in retaliation for a perceived slight and is often obvious from the fact that it knocks the stick from the hands of a player. The odd fact about these penalties is that contact is not necessary for them to be called. If you try to slow a player or hit a player with your stick and miss the intent can send you to the box for two minutes.

Tripping seems straight forward but has a twist about what is considered tripping. Tripping can occur when a player causes another to lose their balance or fall using a stick or any part of their body, including skates. However, in theory, you could trip a player and send them to the ice without incurring a penalty. The deciding factor here is whether the officials decide that you are playing the puck. If you trip another player but are not playing the puck then you will spend the next two minutes in the penalty box. If you are playing the puck and accidentally hit a skate and a p layer falls then it is up to the officials to decide if that is a penalty or not. This one can bet tricky and any time a player falls there seems to be two very different opinions on the call or no call depending on which team you are rooting for.

The last penalty I will discuss today is a fun one to see in effect. The “Too many men on the ice” penalty is odd in the fact that it is not uncommon to see seven or eight players on the ice at the same time without a call but see six men on the ice and there be a minor penalty. This all boils down to the determination of how many players are “involved in the play”. A player leaving the ice is considered “out of play” as long as they don’t play the puck and are within five feet of the bench. Any player coming onto the ice is considered “in the play” once their skates touch the ice. If a player is eight feet out from the bench and their replacement hits the ice then the penalty is called. This rule seems to have some flexibility as sometimes it seems to not be called and sometimes it is called every time.

No team likes to be on the penalty kill but it is not likely that there will be a multiple game streak without having to kill off a penalty. It is likely that you will see many calls this season and hopefully this will help you to understand what you are seeing. Check back next week for the next installment of hockey basics where we talk about the more detrimental penalties like fighting and high sticks.

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If there is something that you would like me to cover as part of this series just let me know in the comments below. There is always more to learn about the rules no matter how much you know about hockey so if you want to know, just ask.