Fraser: Penalty call on Calgary's Scott Hannan on Sunday

Kerry Fraser

11/8/2011 12:50:46 PM

Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry Fraser wants to answer your emails at!

Hey Kerry,
Big fan of your blog, I read it every day and can't wait till the next one.
Got a question. As referee in minor hockey I have seen this done before but until the other night in the Flames-Avs game I had never seen it in the NHL. With about 15 seconds remaining in the third period and Calgary up by one goal, the Avs were pressing in the Flames zone with their goalie on the bench. After some hectic play behind the net, Scott Hannan from the Flames committed an infraction that the referee was going to call upon a Flames possession. What happened next is what I had not seen before. Hannan refused to play the puck at his feet so that more time from the clock would run off. The ref immediately blew the play dead and assessed the penalty.
What are the conditions in the NHL for the ref to call the penalty? The Flames commentator said that the ref was wrong to blow the play dead. I don't believe that he was. I believe that if the player is 'refusing' to play the puck for the purpose of extending the clock 'run off' then the ref is obligated to blow the play down and assess the penalty.  I am certain that this is the rule in minor hockey but now sure if the NHL follows the same guidelines.
Brian Lister
Hi Kerry,
Near the end of the Calgary-Colorado game, Calgary got a delayed penalty. The ref blew the whistle before any Flame touched the puck. There was a player that came close to it, but made sure he did not touch it. This allowed Colorado more time on the ensuing 6-on-4. Do you know the reason this occurred, or was it simply a referee error? This could have had an impact on the game.
Darryl Elvers
In Calgary vs. Colorado on November 6, 2011, a penalty was to be called against Calgary with about 15 seconds on the clock but Calgary never touched the puck and the whistle was blown.  Even the commetator stated that the rule states Calgary had to touch the puck but they didn't how could that be a stoppage of play.  The penalty was fair to call but without touching the puck how could the stoppage in play happen?
Brian, Darryl, Kristina (and 'BostonBrewin' from yesterday's blog comments),

While the commentator would be correct to state play is normally stopped when the offending team touches the puck during a delayed penalty, Rule 72 - Refusing to Play the Puck - takes precedent in all cases.
(72.5 Penalty - When the Referee signals the delayed calling of a penalty to one team and a player of that team intentionally abstains from playing the puck in order to allow additional time to expire on the game or penalty time clocks, the Referee shall stop the play and order the resulting face-off at one of the face-off spots in the offending team's defending zone.)

Calgary was holding onto a 2-1 lead with 15 seconds remaining in regulation time and about to go on the penalty kill based on Scott Hannan's delayed tripping infraction.

Hannan's best contribution at this point was to abstain from playing the puck to kill valuable seconds off the clock. As a result of the penalty, Colorado would gain an attacking zone face-off and a two man advantage with the goalkeeper pulled. As per the application of rule 72.5 the referee immediately killed the play thereby stopping the clock.

This rule is not just exclusive to a player abstaining from playing the puck on a delayed penalty infraction but also applies to a hand pass, high stick of the puck, and icing where refusal to touch the puck allows for time to lapse or expire on the game or penalty clocks.

The most creative application I ever saw of this rule didn't come from an official enforcing it but from avoiding the necessity to apply it at a key moment near the end of a game. It was the good judgment and common sense (in addition to the strong hand) of veteran linesman Dan Schachte that circumvented one aspect of this rule on an icing call.

Believe me when I say you just can't teach this sort of common sense and quick reaction. This is what happened.

Nashville was playing in Anaheim and with under a minute remaining (and Anaheim holding a commanding lead in the game) Nashville shot the puck the length of the ice for an icing infraction. Dan Schachte, the lead linesman on the play saw two tough guys, Darcy Hordichuk and Jordin Tootoo, jump over the boards after the puck was shot down the ice. Icing would negate a Nashville line change and that was exactly what linesman Schachte was hoping for at that stage of the contest to avoid a potential dust-up.

Schachte followed Ducks defenceman Francois Beauchemin down the ice and across the goal line waiting for the touch up to complete the icing and then blow his whistle. Beauchemin however refused to touch the puck even as Shachte continuously yelled at him to do so.

As linesman Dan Shachte saw referee, Brad Watson's whistle approaching his mouth to kill play due to Beauchemin's refusal to touch the puck, Schachte grabbed the shaft of Francois Beauchemin's stick and physically moved it to touch the puck.

Icing was now completed and Schachte blew his whistle and sent both Darcy Hordichuk and Jordan Tootoo to their players' bench where they became spectators for the remaining seconds of the game.  The game concluded without incident.

The 2011-12 NHL season is linesman Dan Schachte's 30th. The sound judgment and common sense that this professional displays on a nightly basis is something I always appreciate and applaud. So do the players whenever Dan Schachte steps onto the ice.