Getting to Know the NHL Rulebook: Penalty Shots 3

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the next installment of our series where the WIIM authors read big, boring documents so you don't have to. Today's rulebook post finishes a lengthy review of penalty shots.

2013-14 Official Rules (PDF)

Let's finish this rule off.

Rule 24 - Penalty Shots (cont'd)

24.5 Face-Off Location: If a goal's scored off the penalty shot, the faceoff is at center ice just like after every goal. If no goal, then the faceoff is at one of the two dots in the defending goalie's end, "except when another rule dictates the face-off location should be in an alternate location." This exception hardly ever happens, but the rule is written this way, so it might one day be useful to remember it. (No, it won't be.) Something that isn't written is which of the two faceoff locations they'll use if the penalty shot fails. I assume it's whichever side the puck ends up, whether the goalie makes a save closer to one faceoff dot or the other, or the shot misses to a specific side.

24.6 Results: There was a tweet a month ago from the Scouting the Refs account that talked about this next rule. No further penalty to the offending player shall ensue from an offense which results in a penalty shot, unless said offense would have incurred a major, match, or misconduct penalty; if so, then the penalty shot and the appropriate penalty will be assessed.

There's also the case of double-minor penalties: if a foul which would normally have resulted in a double-minor--let's say Justin Abdelkader got high-sticked on a breakaway--then the penalty shot restores Abdelkader's scoring chance and wipes out the first minor penalty. Regardless of the penalty shot result, the second minor will be served normally.

For penalty shots that occur on power plays: "No penalty shall expire when a goal is scored against a team on a penalty shot." I have no idea what the motivation is behind this rule. I know I advocated making minor penalties last the full two minutes no matter what, but that world doesn't exist, so now I'm looking for consistency in the writing of the rules.

This next part is a weird consequence of the rule that only one goal can be scored at a single stoppage of play. If two penalty shots are awarded to the same team at the same stoppage--say, Jakub Kindl hooks someone on a breakaway and then proceeds to fall on the puck in the crease--then the first penalty shot is taken. If a goal is not scored, the second penalty shot is assessed and taken. If a goal is scored on the first penalty shot attempt, then the second penalty shot is not taken but instead reverted to a minor or major, etc., as appropriate.

24.7 Timing: This next paragraph is fun:

If the foul upon which the penalty shot is based occurs during actual playing time, the penalty shot shall be awarded and taken immediately in the usual manner notwithstanding any delay occasioned by a slow whistle by the Referee to allow play to continue until the attacking side has lost possession of the puck to the defending side, which delay results in the expiry of the regular playing time in any period.

"If the foul . . . occurs during actual playing time": As far as I've seen, fouls which result in penalty shots happen only "during actual playing time." There's no provision I've seen that awards a team a penalty shot before a faceoff.

". . . taken immediately in the usual manner notwithstanding . . .": You know, considering the rulebook often makes reference to other rules, they could have saved about 40-50 words by just saying something like "The calling of a penalty shot shall be subject to the procedure outlined in Rule 15.1" which is basically the delayed penalty call rule; the penalty shot won't be called until the offending team touches the puck.

The clock stops while the penalty shot is being taken. After all the penalty kicks that have been called in this year's World Cup, I've started wondering what it would be like if the puck were live on a saved penalty shot, but I think the much smaller hockey rink dimensions reduce that scenario to a pipe dream.

24.8 Infractions: Reference Table 13 on page 135 (PDF p. 146) lists the infractions that can result in a penalty shot. The next paragraph defines the conditions for a penalty shot to be called for a foul from behind:

(i) The infraction must have taken place in the neutral zone or attacking zone, (i.e. over the puck carrier’s own blue line)

So if you commit the gaffe of making a D-to-D pass along the blue line with a waiting forward's stick in the way, it's better to just trip the guy before he crosses the blue line.

(ii) The infraction must have been committed from behind

I'm having a difficult time finding examples, so now I'm wondering if I truly remember any instances or am making up memories where fouls occurred more from the side as opposed to from behind.

(iii) The player in possession and control (or, in the judgment of the Referee, clearly would have obtained possession and control of the puck) must have been denied a reasonable chance to score (the fact that he got a shot off does not automatically eliminate this play from the penalty shot consideration criteria. If the foul was from behind and he was denied a "more" reasonable scoring opportunity due to the foul, then the penalty shot should be awarded)

Emphasis mine. I honestly don't understand this part of the rule. Is it possible to foul a player from behind and NOT deny him a reasonable chance to score? And does that mean the referee will award a minor penalty (or major or whatever penalty based on severity) instead? Also interesting is that a penalty shot can be awarded if a guy is fouled from behind in a race for a loose puck toward his offensive zone.

(iv) The player in possession and control (or, in the judgment of the Referee, clearly would have obtained possession and control of the puck) must have had no opposing player between himself and the goalkeeper

I find it amusing it took until the end of the rule before someone remembered "Oh yeah, we need to say a player has to be on a breakaway first before a foul from behind results in a penalty shot."

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