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Getting to Know the NHL Rulebook: Official Scorer, Game Timekeeper, Penalty Timekeeper, Goal Judge, and Real Time Scorers

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Let's get this over with.

Toughest job?
Toughest job?
USA TODAY Sports

NHL Official Rules 2013-14 (PDF)

Admittedly, it's pretty difficult to have opinions about this section of the rulebook. I guess this is one opinion: we should get through this as quickly as possible. Because this is such a slog, more interesting subsections and paragraphs are marked with an asterisk (*).

Rule 33 - Official Scorer

33.1 General Duties: The Official Scorer (OS) makes sure to obtain a roster of eligible players, including captain designations, and starting lineups from each team before the game starts. Each coach will be given the opposing team's lineup pregame as well.

I have no idea what the bolded section of the next paragraph is trying to say:

The Official Scorer shall keep a record of the goals scored, the scorers, and players to whom assists have been credited and shall indicate those players on the lists who have actually taken part in the game.

I'm assuming it means the OS marks down credit for points on the lineups sheets, but why would anyone ever write a sentence that simple?

OS fills out and signs the Score Sheet. OS also prepares the Official Record of Match for the referees to sign. These two forms plus the Penalty Record form are forwarded to the League. In the Record of Match:

the Official Scorer must explain if the start of the game is delayed for any reason, any goalkeeper substitutions, time-outs, empty net goals, any delays in the playing of the game due to injury or television, etc.

Soooo the OS has to report whenever there's a stoppage of play?

*33.2 Goals and Assists: OS awards goals and assists. Award decisions are final, except not. OS may have assistance from the Video Goal Judge in awarding points.

Captains or "Team representatives" can request scoring changes ("his decision shall be final") provided such requests are made before, at, or "immediately" after the conclusion of the game. "His decision shall be final." OK then.

If a goal is missed on the ice but the Video Goal Judge catches it before the next faceoff, OS awards points at the time the goal was scored, not at the time of the stoppage. Game and penalty clocks are adjusted accordingly.

Goals are awarded to the scoring team's last player to touch the puck. Assists to the previous two players to touch the puck with no defender "playing or possessing" the puck. OS may also decide to award assists on awarded goals.

33.3 Line-ups:

It is the policy of the National Hockey League that the Coach of the visiting club provide to the Official Scorer, a list of eligible players, his starting line-up and designated Captain and Alternates, within five (5) minutes of the completion of the warm-up (twenty (20) minutes prior to face-off).

Is it really necessary to say "It is the policy of the NHL"? Arenas count down the time until the game starts. Just say "visiting coach shall provide lineup information with 35:00 remaining" or however much time you want to give.

*If a coach fails to be nice to the OS, he can--no, he "must"--complain to Bettman about it.

*33.4 Location: The rulebook actually bothers to say where the OS should watch the game from. He needs a phone to communicate with public address. He also needs a TV of the game with play and record capabilities, but no mention of rewind or fast-forward. He has his own TV of the game, but he still must have access to the Video Goal Judge.

33.5 Penalties: OS helps the Penalty Timekeeper with the number of players on the ice. This includes checking for players that leave the bench during an altercation and in what order they leave the bench in.

Rule 34 - Game Timekeeper

34.1 General Duties: Game Timekeeper (GT) records real-life start and end times of each period. He also manages the 20:00 period clock, starting it with each faceoff and stopping with a whistle or goal. PA must announce one-minute remaining in each period.

*34.2 Intermissions: Intermissions are 18 minutes. Clock starts counting down "immediately at the conclusion of the period." Depending on any weird delays, the clock start may also be delayed at GT's discretion.

34.3 Overtime: Regular season overtime has a 1 minute break before the 5 minute overtime. Playoff overtime is like regular hockey.

34.4 Signal Devices: If an arena's signal devices (Rule 4) fail somehow, GT will signal the end of the period by blowing a whistle.

34.5 Start of Periods: GT signals referees and players when to start. GT also must give everyone a 5 and 2 minute warning during intermission.

*34.6 Television: Here's something relevant: TV broadcasts sometimes mention that their broadcast clock isn't necessarily what the game clock shows. If that's the case, the GT is blatantly violating Rule 34.6:

The Game Timekeeper is required to synchronize his timing device with the television producer of the originating broadcast.

So much for that.

34.7 Verification of Time: False faceoffs where one of the other three officials blows a play dead to re-do the faceoff need to go away yesterday. Since they're here to stay, GT is responsible for putting time back on the clock in the event of a false faceoff.

GT keeps track of time, but referees have final say in time disputes. The referees may have assistance from the Video Goal Judge or the GT's backup timing device, a "League-approved stopwatch."

If the clock malfunctions, on-ice officials can stop play if there's no imminent scoring chance or wait until a real stoppage. They fix the problem, and the game goes on.

In situations that require time being put back on the clock because of a missed goal, the Video Goal Judge tells the GT and the OS the time of the goal and amount of playing time left for the game clock to be reset.

Rule 35 - Penalty Timekeeper

35.1 General Duties: The Penalty Timekeeper (PT) records penalties and penalty times. PT tells the players and penalty box workers what time penalties expire. In case of discrepancies between the penalty clock and game clock as to when players return to the ice, game clock takes precedence.

*PA announces players' penalties twice. For coincidental penalties, visiting players are announced first. If multiple game misconducts are assessed to the same player, only one game misconduct is announced. Why bother with that, I don't know. If Kyle Quincey gets a triple game misconduct, I want to hear it from the PA.

Misconducts and game misconducts are not put on the penalty time clock.

*Players assessed a misconduct on top of other penalties will only have the clock start on their misconduct when all their other penalties expire.

I feel like I talked about this already, but I don't remember in what post. If a player leaves the penalty box before his penalty expires, the PT notes the time he left and tells the referees at the first opportunity.

The PT is responsible for making sure players with carry-over penalties start the period in the box.

35.2 Equipment: The PT is the caretaker of the tape measure and stick-measuring gauge referees can use to measure potentially illegal sticks.

*35.3 Goalkeeper's Penalties: OS and the Real Time Scorers must help the referees and PT to determine who was on the ice when a goalie committed a penalty. Note that this is "when the offense was committed" not "when the whistle was blown."

35.4 Penalty Shot: PT notes when a penalty shot was awarded, who took the shot (but not who defended it?), and the result.

35.5 Penalty Time Clock: PT puts up the penalties on the scoreboard penalty clocks. If a situation arises where two players from Team A and one player from Team B incur coincidental penalties, the PT asks the referee or the offending team's captain which penalty they want on the clock.

35.6 Reports: Before the game, PT gets copies from the League of any players who have been assessed penalties that accumulate into suspensions. We covered one such class already in Game Misconducts.

PT signs and forward the Penalty Record form to the League.

The Officiating Department is "entitled" to the worksheets used by the PT in any game.

If a player is ejected (game misconduct), the PT completes a report on the incident. He helps the referee in cases where there are multiple game misconducts.

35.7 Stick Measurements: PT records the details of any stick measurement in a game.

35.8 Verification of Time: When video review awards a goal and requires that time be put back on the clock, the PT must adjust any existing penalties accordingly.

*Rule 36 - Goal Judge

36.1 General Duties: The Goal Judge turns the red light on to signal a puck crossing the line between the posts. In the next sentence, the rulebook contradicts itself, saying that it doesn't matter how the Goal Judge thinks the puck went in, that the red light just indicates if the puck entered the net.

EDIT (1:14pm): Silent Verbal astutely reminds us in the comments of the difference between the Goal Judge being allowed to determine where the puck went in--between the posts, from behind or the sides underneath the net, through the mesh, etc.--and not how the puck went in--off a stick, off a skate, kicked in, batted in with a glove, head-butted in, etc.--or when it went in--prior to the whistle, after, etc.

36.2 Location: The Goal Judges are situated one behind each goal or in a location approved by Hockey Operations. Each patrols the same net from start to finish.

Rule 37 - Real Time Scorers

37.1 General Duties: The Real Time Scorers (RTS) electronically record official stats. The League gives them further instructions.

37.2 Real Time Scorers: There are two Stats Entry Scorers, a Time on Ice Scorer for home team and visiting team, and an "Event Analyst." One of these guys is the overseer designated as "Scoring System Manager."

37.3 Reports:  RTS must generate and provide reports during each intermission (including for playoff overtime) and post-game. Reports are given to the home team's PR reps who then give them to media and both coaches.

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I honestly reached a point where I wanted to skip a lot of this. I opted instead for the heavily summarized version. Next time we tackle video review.