Fraser: Why Chara was not penalized for having two sticks

Kerry Fraser
11/22/2011 2:10:21 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! 


Thanks for answering our questions.
During the Montreal/Boston game, Tim Thomas dropped his stick behind his net. Just after that, Zdeno Chara grabbed the stick with one hand and gave it to Thomas, so for a short moment he had two sticks. Should it be a penalty? From what I heard before, you cannot play with a broken stick or have two sticks in your possession. In addition, I think you cannot try to push a "loose stick" away from an opponent or towards one of your players. Am I correct? I understand it would have resulted in a 5-on-3, but sometimes a 5-on-3 is the result of a puck being thrown above the boards.
Julien from Montreal

Good evening Mr. Fraser,

Watching Bruins vs. Habs, second period over, just saw Tim Thomas drop his stick trying to stop the puck behind his net. Zdeno Chara then picked it up and gave it back to Thomas. For a solid two seconds, Chara clearly held two sticks, one in each hand. I know you can at no moment "play" with more than one stick, but is there an exception to the rule for giving the goalie back his stick?

May your hair forever be perfect.

Guillaume, Gatineau, QC

Julien and Guillaume:

A goalkeeper is the only player on the ice that can play with a broken stick. If Tim Thomas' stick was broken to the point that it was rendered useless or he had lost his stick and it was not in close proximity to retrieve easily, a teammate could hand the goalie his own players stick to defend with. 

Any player who has lost or broken his stick can only receive a replacement legally at his player's bench or be handed one from a teammate on the ice. The goalkeeper is the exception to this rule and he may not go to the player's bench to receive a replacement stick at any time. It must be handed to him by a teammate. (The purpose of this segment of the rule is to avoid game delay once play has been stopped.)

If in the act of transporting a replacement stick to a teammate while play is in progress (including the goalkeeper) should that player become involved in the play in any manner with two sticks in his hands (eg. plays the puck, checks an opponent) then he would incur an automatic penalty for playing with an illegal stick.

You are also correct Julien in stating that a player would be penalized if he throws, tosses, slides or shoots a stick to a teammate on the ice. A player may not participate in the play using a goalkeeper's stick.

In the Boston-Montreal game during the second period, Zdeno Chara retrieved and transported the goal stick that Thomas had dropped behind his net completely within the rules. No penalty was warranted since Big "Z" did not become involved in the play while he was acting as a delivery boy.

Billy Smith sends a word of caution to all you goalkeepers that might lose your stick during the course of play. There is a natural tendency to turn your stick/blocker hand inward like your catching glove when you turn or reset without a stick in your hand.

Try it right now. Hold one hand like a blocker glove and then make a slight turn. Your hand opens up and follows your shoulder turn.

Now hold a stick shaft or even a pencil and make the same move. It forces the back of your hand to remain square to the shot. Smitty tells goalies if they break their stick to at the very least hold onto the broken shaft to keep the blocker facing an oncoming puck.

Zdeno Chara (Photo: Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)


(Photo: Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
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