Fraser: Rules on icing the puck when your net is empty

Kerry Fraser
5/10/2011 2:13:18 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry Fraser wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!


Hey Kerry,
At the end of the Canucks-Predators game on Monday night, the Predators iced the puck with the net empty.
Why were they allowed to replace the goalie for the faceoff when a team isn't supposed to be allowed a line change after they ice the puck?
Tristan Urquhart
Dear Mr. Fraser,
During the Predators - Canucks hockey game, when the game was down to the last minute and a half or so, Nashville pulled their goalie and then the Canucks were able to pin the Predators in their own zone. Nashville then iced the puck and Pekka Rinne was able to come back on the ice for the defensive end faceoff. Why?  He wasn't on the ice when Nashville iced the puck! The rule that the players on the ice at that icing stays on doesn't apply to the goalie, which, I think, would have made the game more exciting if the goalie couldn't come back because he wasn't on when the puck was iced!  What do you think?
C. Wrishko

Thank you for the questions, Tristan and 'C!'

The answer is found clearly written in the following two rules: 81.4 (Line Changes on Icing) - which outlines no substitutions to the offending team prior to the faceoff with note to these exceptions. "However, a team shall be permitted to make a player substitution to replace a goalkeeper who had been substituted for an extra attacker, to replace an injured player, or when a penalty has been assessed which affects the on-ice strength of either team."

The same language appears in Rule 82.1 - Line Changes.

Let me delve more deeply into a couple of situations where a penalty is assessed to affect the on-ice strength of either team. The initial and most obvious thought is that an infraction might occur on the delayed icing. Perhaps an attacking player body checks the defensive player simultaneously with or shortly after the touch up completes an obvious icing. Boarding would be called and the offending team (icing infraction & minor penalty) would be allowed to place their penalty killing unit on the ice. The faceoff would, of course come back into their end zone by virtue of the icing and the penalty assessment.

Here's one that I hope doesn't cause you to scratch you head.

Let's say it's a game between Detroit and San Jose and the Red Wings ice the puck. No line change has been allowed to the offending team (Wings) and the faceoff is set to the left of Jimmy Howard. Prior to the drop of the puck, Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi punches defenceman Niklas Kronwall in the face as the two players jostle on the side wall. Setoguchi receives a roughing minor for the punch. 

Both teams are now allowed to make player substitutions due to a change in numerical strength. The new faceoff location however will be moved all the way down the ice into the San Jose Sharks end zone faceoff spot to the right of Antti Niemi. The reason for this is that the infraction called on Setoguchi occurred after the play was stopped for the icing.

If and when this should happen, you now have the ammunition to win the trivia bet.

Pekka Rinne (Photo: Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)


(Photo: Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
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