January 3, 2008
Over the last few months, I've been reading the Official NHL Rulebook to get a better of idea of how calls are made and how the game was written to play out. What I found were some interesting notations that majority of us don't know and probably don't even realize occur on a nightly basis.
Rule 1 - Rink - 1.1 The Rink
"In the interval between periods, the ice surface shall be flooded unless mutually agreed to the contrary."
So this is basically saying if both teams don't want to see the Zamboni that night, the home team will keep the ignition off. After watching the Winter Classic, I'm pretty certain that that will never occur and a fresh sheet of ice will be more than desired come the end of a period.
Rule 1.7 - The Rink
"On the ice, immediately in front of the penalty timekeeper's seat there shall be marked in red on the ice a semi-circle of ten foot (10') radius and two inches (2") in width which shall be known as the 'Referee's crease'."
I had never caught this on television nor seen this in person as anytime I've gotten seats they are mostly behind the penalty boxes, so it was impossible to see this area on the ice. I'm wondering if this "crease" is much like the goalie crease and that when a referee is speaking with the timekeeper or other on-ice officials between the penalty boxes, no player can enter. I'd love to get some clarification on the reason for the "referee crease".
Rule 3 - Benches - 3.1 Players' Benches
"Each rink shall be provided with seats on benches for the use of players of both teams. The accommodations provided including benches and doors, must be uniform for both teams. Such seats or benches shall have accommodation for at least fourteen (14) persons of each team."
This one I love. I've always wondered why arenas like the Nassau Coliseum and Mellon Arena do not have enough room on the visitor's bench, thereby forcing the opponent's goaltender to sit on a chair in the hallway outside of their locker room. The rule states the benches must be uniform...in space or look? And they must be able to fit at least 14 players. So if I'm reading this right, a typical hockey squad consists of 20 players (12 forwards, 6 defensemen, 2 goalies), yet the benches only need to fit 14 players? Hmmm, that'd be some home-ice advantage.
Rule 3.2 Penalty Bench
"These benches or seats must be capable of accommodating a total of 10 persons including the penalty timekeepers."
I do not see how any penalty box can hold a maximum of 10 people...9 of which would be NHL players. I would really like to see this rule tested in most arenas. I'm sure once the referees realize that real estate is limited in the sin bins, they would start sending players to the locker room or hallway area.
Rule 5 - Team - 5.1 Eligible Players
"One non-uniformed player shall be permitted on the players bench in a coaching capacity. He must be indicated on the roster sheet submitted by the coach to the referee or official scorer prior to the start of the game."
Paves the way for the player-coach.
Rule 5.3 - Goalkeeper
"Each team shall be allowed one goalkeeper on the ice at one time....Such substitute shall not be permitted the privileges of the goalkeeper...Except when both goalkeepers are incapacitated, no player in the playing roster in that game shall be permitted to wear the equipment of the goalkeeper."
If both of your goalies are hurt and must leave the game, better find the bravest guy on your roster that is willing to put on the pads and stop some pucks the rest of the night.
Rule 9.2 - Numbers
"Sweater numbers such as 00, 1/2 (fractions), .05 (decimals), 101 (3 digit) are not permitted."
Koko, George Costanza's nickname on Seinfeld would be disappointed, as would any team wishing to give their shortest guy the "1/2" number to go along with his nickname of "Half Pint".
Rule 28.7 - Participating in the play over the center ice red line
"If a goalkeeper participates in the play in any matter when he is beyond the center red line, a minor penalty shall be imposed upon them."
There goes any chance of Martin Brodeur deking his way to a more-creative goal rather than just shooting the puck from his crease.