Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Hi Kerry, Ive reffed a lot of hockey, but I saw something in Team Canadas semifinal loss to Geneva in the Spengler Cup that Ive never seen before. Canada came all the way back from a 5-0 deficit and with about a minute left it was 6-5 Geneva with the faceoff in their end. Canada pulled their goalie and somehow ended up with seven players on the ice for the faceoff. Before the puck was dropped and before play resumed the refs called a too many men penalty against Canada. They then moved the faceoff to the opposite end of the ice into Canadas end and put them shorthanded..virtually ending Canadas chance of tying the game. In my knowledge of the rules this cant be done. I know this is European professional hockey but is there a specific rule that says that is a penalty? Thanks, Clayton Brown --- Hi Kerry, I would really like to hear your thoughts on the penalty to Canada with 30 seconds left in the Spengler Cup semifinal game. I believe the call was too many men/delay of game? Have you ever seen anything like it before? Ryan, Moncton, NB --- Clayton and Ryan: I have never seen a more absurd application of too many men/delay of game rule as the bench minor penalty that was assessed to Team Canada with 35 seconds remaining in a one-goal game at the Spengler Cup. The written rule that pertains to line change procedure (5 second rule for teams to make a line change during a stoppage of play) is almost identical between the IIHL and NHL rule books. If appears there is a major difference however in how the IIHF referees, or those at the Spengler Cup, are instructed to enforce a potential infringement of IIHF rule 412—Change of Players During Stoppage of Play. The (automatic?) bench penalty assessed to Team Canada coach Guy Boucher, when he inadvertently placed seven players on the ice for an attacking end zone faceoff with just 35 seconds remaining in regulation time, defies any common sense application of the playing rules and even how the rule is written. Similar to the NHL version, IIHF Rule 412 provides that following a stoppage of play, the referee in the neutral zone conducts the line change by allowing the visiting team five seconds to make a player change. He then raises his hand to signal that the visiting team can no longer make a change and allows the home team five seconds to make a change if they so desire. (In the NHL the Home team is allowed eight seconds). When a team attempts to make a player change after its allotted period of time, the Referee shall send the player(s) back to the bench and issue a warning to the coach. Any subsequent infraction of this procedure at any time during the course of the game shall result in the team receiving a bench minor penalty (IIHF rule 92.8). I am uncertain if Guy Boucher had been warned previously for a slow or improper line change. Even if that had been the case, my common sense and experience would dictate that with 35 seconds remaining in a one-goal game it was not the time for me to become overly officious and lay the hammer down. The spirit of a rule must be considered and balanced with sound judgment as to when it must be applied throughout a game. A bench minor penalty assessed in this situation did not serve the best interest of the game and either the referee or his superiors that instructed him to do so should rethink their position. The primary purpose of this rule is intended to speed up play and not allow a coach to stall during key times or situations in a game in order to rest players that he might want on the ice or alter the game momentum. It allows the home team the advantage of last change to match lines and is intended to prevent further delays in this regard. The NHL implemented the rule following a study which timed the lengthy delays that occurred between the whistle ending a play and until the linesman dropped the puck for the next faceoff. There is a big difference between coaches that defy a referee by placing additional players on the ice after his allotted time and the initial confusion Boucher demonstrated at having an additional player on the ice in this crucial situation. Following the bench penalty imposed against Team Canada, Chris McSorley, coach of Geneve, then decided to take a 30-second timeout as was his right but it was a move that further delayed the resumption of play. One of the referees responsibilities for conducting a line change is to ensure that the team has the correct number of players on the ice. If I, as the referee, allowed a team to have an extra player on the ice through a line change I would take it as a personal failure of my duties and simply ask the coach to remove the player of his choice in order to resume the game. On many occasions I had to warn a visiting coach that sent six players onto the ice for a change (one extra D-man) prior to seeing who the home club placed on the ice. It never got to the point where I had to assess a bench penalty. On this play, it was actually Coach McSorley who awakened the referee to the fact that Canada had seven players on the ice and resulted in the penalty call. There must be a level of common sense implemented when enforcing the playing rules. In this case, whoever is responsible for this nonsensical application needs to rethink the spirit and purpose of the rule as it pertains to the best interest of the participants and the game at large. Cmon Ref and everyone at TSN extend our very best wishes for a Happy New Year to all. 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