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About that controversial OT faceoff penalty from the Minnesota-Nashville game…

Feb 11, 2013, 4:28 PM EST

One of the stranger calls of this young NHL season occurred during overtime of Minnesota’s 2-1 victory over Nashville on Saturday.

About halfway through the extra session, Preds center Paul Gaustad was given a two-minute delay of game/faceoff violation minor for “batting” the puck with his glove.

This, of course, is a direct violation of one of the new faceoff rules for this season — No. 76.4, which prohibits players from playing the puck with their hands.

The Wild proceeded to score (and win) on the ensuing power play, much to the chagrin of the Predators, who protested the call vehemently.

The protestations were based partly on the puck drop of linesman Ryan Galloway — here’s a GIF of the incident, courtesy the Nashville Examiner:

Hardly a textbook draw, given the bounce (though it’s not like he Gronkowski’d the puck.) The bigger issue was the subsequent penalty call, which seemed harsh given the game was in overtime.

Following the contest, The Tennessean asked the NHL’s Situation Room for clarification on the call, which garnered this response:

The referee deemed that rule 76.4 applied because as it reads “Both players facing-off are prohibited from batting the puck with their hand in an attempt to win the face-off.”

That rule applied because the puck was batted by Paul Gaustad’s left glove off the face off.

Now, former NHL referee Kerry Fraser has weighed in on the call:

Even though I have attempted to provide a reasonable explanation as to why the linesman felt Gaustad’s actions resulted in a hand pass, I do not believe this interpretation to be correct. 

In observance of the spirit and intent of Rule 76.4, I deem that incidental contact of the puck resulted to the back of Gaustad’s glove from his natural hand motion in an attempt to win the draw and that a face-off violation did not occur on this play.

There was no deliberate attempt by the Nashville center to play the puck with his hand.

Fraser then explains the best course of action would’ve been for to blow the play dead, reset the clock and re-do the faceoff.

Issues with the new faceoff rules are popping up throughout the league. In Washington, players told NBC Channel 4 they’ve had a hard time adjusting to the new regulations.

Matt Hendricks said he’s noticed referees are calling faceoff penalties “pretty strongly” this season, while Jay Beagle said he was lucky to avoid getting called for one earlier this season.

“There was one instance, I actually tried to grab it and swing it back with my hand and missed,” he explained. “I was thankful for that.

“After that, I was like, ‘Gee, I gotta watch it.'”

  1. misterchainbluelightning - Feb 11, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Dear stupid NHL linesman, drop the F’ing puck don’t whip it at the ice seeing how high you can bounce it.

  2. lordfletcher - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    I wasn’t able to see the game but caught the highlights… Couldn’t agree more about the linesman, what a horrid drop. I can’t comprehend why he chucked the puck at the ice instead of a nice, flat soft drop… and on top of all that, it was a terrible call that ended up costing the Preds at a fair chance for the last point.

    As a Wild fan, i’ll take what I can get but a crap call and overall job by the zebra!!!!

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 11, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      Maybe in mite games with 12 year old refs they drop the puck but high level linesman do indeed throw the puck on the ice. Ideally, it should land flat and stay but that doesn’t happen everytime.

      • lordfletcher - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:25 PM

        I should have used softer rather than “soft”.

  3. mayortito - Feb 11, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    looks like the linesman was practicing for a game of quarters.

  4. einjzmolf - Feb 11, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Okay, now this is getting pathetic. Just because the NFL got rid of their lingerie league officials doesn’t mean the NHL should’ve given them jobs. I’ve seen way too many terrible calls already this season, some of them leading to an altered result to a game (such as this one). The NHL needs to refine these new rules and refine the official’s brains they’re trying to stuff them in, because clearly it’s not getting through to them.

  5. stakex - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    The problem here is that refs aren’t really suppose to take “spirit and intent” into account when making a call… they are suppose to call it as its writen in the rule book. In this case, the rules do not clarify if accidental contact (if it was accidental, sure doesn’t look like it was) is to be ignored by the refs. If thats how its suppose to be, thats how its should be writen.

    With that said this is simply an idiotic rule, and changing it after so many years of playing without it makes no sense at all.

  6. mpops86 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Beagle was guilty of using his hand all season last year.

    How about Marchand, who was called for a penalty for using his hand about 4 feet from the dot?

  7. scionofflame - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Considering the fact that you could argue this penalty cost us the game…I think it should be discussed.

    Gaustad had his gloves FIRMLY on the stick. They never left while he was trying to win it. He was pulling back on it and if there was glove contact, I don’t think it was intentional. Besides, what does he do? Raise his stick to bat the bouncing puck out of the air and risk cracking Granlund in the face for a high stick? Not likely.

    He can’t get another swipe at it anyways because it bounces away from him. Minnesota won the faceoff. So why not just leave it at that?

    The drop was bad. The ruling was stupid. But the game is done, so we get to carry on and leave with a point. Them’s the breaks.

  8. e3zy - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    Don’t shoot me or anything, but it seems legit based on his left hand. His hand slows down and then speeds up to indicate that it was not momentum from the faceoff movement, and that he knew what he was doing.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 12, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      Kind of, but it’s one of those instances where slow-motion exaggerates an incident. It’s like those hits where at regular speed, there’s no way a player could have avoided kneeing a guy or hitting him in the head. The same applies here, and the faceoff moved way too quickly for that too be deliberate.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 12, 2013 at 9:42 AM

        *to be deliberate. Typo. The curse of the blazing fingers.

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