I wrote a playfully snide item after Game One taking officials Dan O’Halloran and Kevin Pollock to task for blowing calls that uniformly benefitted Pittsburgh. In response, many Pittsburgh people pointed out that one non-call actually benefitted Washington, and only most of those Pittsburgh people called me bad names when did so.
In the interest of fairness, here’s the Caps definitely getting away with a Too Many Men penalty.
It’s late in the second period, and the Caps are losing. The fourth line is gassed and call for a change after losing the offensive zone. Daniel Winnik and Brett Connolly try to get off the ice, but it all goes to hell.
The puck had come to Nate Schmidt, who hates dump-and-chase, so he skated it directly into the mass of humanity going for a change.
Jay Beagle plays it, but so too does Pittsburgh’s Olli Maatta, who sees like forty-seven Caps jerseys on the ice and knows he can get a call, so he passes it right into the thick of them. There’s no call.
(All the while, Pierre McGuire is chastising the Penguins for being sloppy on their last change.)
Meanwhile, John Carlson sees that the Caps don’t have clear possession and bails on his change; he’s such a boy scout. Kevin Shattenkirk realizes he’s busted and he pulls the Abe-Simpson-in-the-burlesque move, immediately returning to the bench.
Maatta figures out that he’s not getting a power play out of it and begins complaining to the refs. They do not agree.
A Too Many Men penalty (full text below) requires a violation of the five-foot zone of grace next to the bench. Either Maatta’s pass into seven Caps skaters or Shattenkirk’s two-second shift could qualify. So, sure, the Pens could have got a call there, and we probably wouldn’t have been too mad about it.
Then again, it’s a neutral-zone play without any impact on scoring and manufactured by the opponent being clever. Not very naughty, not very critical. But the Caps got the bad side of officiating regarding a zone entry, a shot rebound, a delay of game due to covering the puck in the slot, and a play blown dead while the puck was loose in the slot. Any one of those could have been game-changers.
So my sense of righteous indignation is intact after all.
From the NHL rulebook:
74.1 Too Many Men on the Ice – Players may be changed at any time during the play from the players’ bench provided that the player or players leaving the ice shall be within five feet (5′) of his players’ bench and out of the play before the change is made. Refer also to Rule 71 – Premature Substitution. At the discretion of the on-ice officials, should a substituting player come onto the ice before his teammate is within the five foot (5’) limit of the players’ bench (and therefore clearly causing his team to have too many players on the ice), then a bench minor penalty may be assessed.
When a player is retiring from the ice surface and is within the five foot (5’) limit of his players’ bench, and his substitute is on the ice, then the retiring player shall be considered off the ice for the purpose of Rule 70 – Leaving Bench.
If in the course of making a substitution, either the player entering the game or the player retiring from the ice surface plays the puck with his stick, skates or hands or who checks or makes any physical contact with an opposing player while either the player entering the game or the retiring player is actually on the ice, then the infraction of “too many men on the ice” will be called If in the course of a substitution either the player(s) entering the play or the player(s) retiring is struck by the puck accidentally, the play will not be stopped and no penalty will be called. During the play, the player retiring from the ice must do so at the players’ bench and not through any other exit leading from the rink. This is not a legal player change and therefore when a violation occurs, a bench minor penalty shall be imposed. A player coming onto the ice as a substitute player is considered on the ice once both of his skates are on the ice. If he plays the puck or interferes with an opponent while still on the players’ bench, he shall be penalized under Rule 56 – Interference.
74.2 Bench Minor Penalty – A bench minor penalty for too many men on the ice shall be assessed for a violation of this rule. This penalty can be assessed by the Referees or the Linesmen. Should a goal be scored by the offending team prior to the Referee or Linesman blowing his whistle to assess the bench minor penalty, the goal shall be disallowed and the penalty assessed for too many men on the ice.
74.3 Penalty Bench – A player serving a penalty on the penalty bench, who is to be changed after the penalty has been served, must proceed at once by way of the ice and be within five feet (5’) of his own players’ bench before any change can be made. For any violation of this rule, a bench minor penalty shall be imposed for too many men on the ice.
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