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Opinion: As a Clarification...

There was a lot of opposition to last night's call on FS-Ohio (the network I and several other fans watched the game on) as to whether or not the call of "too many men on the ice" was indeed the right call. In my mind, there's no doubt about the call, but for others...make your own interpretation of the rule

According to the NHL rule book, Rule 74.1 states:

If in the course of making a substitution, either the player entering the game or the player (or goalkeeper) retiring from the ice surface plays the puck with his stick, skates or hands or who checks or makes any physical contact with an opposing player while either the player entering the game or the retiring player is actually on the ice, then the infraction of “too many men on the ice” will be called.

...I don't know how it could be any clearer than that. There were four Jackets in the offensive zone and one retreating for a line change. As he was getting ready to come off the ice (but still too far from the bench to ignore it) his sub came on and played the puck, with him still on the ice. That's a penalty, sorry Columbus. I could see an argument if the player leaving the game was closer to the bench but the puck was played in between the two of them, with the exiting player still about 7-10 feet off the bench, leaving it fair game for either to make a play on the puck.

I also thought it was poor taste by the Columbus fans throwing trash onto the ice. I know it was a close, hard fought game and there's no reason to be ashamed of the performance put forth by the Blue Jackets on Thursday night. But there is reason to be ashamed of how the fans reacted following the call and the game's conclusion. The referees made the right call, deal with it. Don't throw stuff on the ice after the game's over when the teams are in the process of one of the most respected aspects of the game (the handshake). I know Wings fans throw octopuses on the ice, but that is instead a tradition of celebration, not an ill-willed temper tantrum.

I hate that the series ended this way, on a "controversial" call but it did. And it wasn't that controversial. Its a clear cut rule when it comes to playing the puck. I hate even worse how the Columbus fans reacted. I know they didn't get the same replay I did on TV but there's never a reason to throw things onto the ice in anger. Reserve that for hats, visors, and yes, octopi; all for celebration, not out of ire.

I want to hear your thoughts on the call and the reaction, so drop a comment below...after all we have some time off.