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Jeff Blashill Selects Anthony Mantha to Serve Late Penalty

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Detroit Red Wings v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

I want to get this piece out there right away because there seems to be some confusion with the rulebook. Here’s the deal: The Red Wings took a penalty with only 1:47 to play against the Calgary Flames down 3-2. Here’s the play as it went down. Niklas Kronwall mishandled a puck at the blue line and Jimmy Howard came out to play it, barely beating the Calgary player to the puck and accidentally putting it straight out of play.

As a result of this, the Red Wings spend the final 1:47 of the game playing shorthanded while trying to tie, and doing so without Anthony Mantha because that’s the player Blashill elected to serve Howard’s penalty.

A lot of people (myself included) are upset about Mantha being selected to serve this penalty because on a team struggling to score goals, putting one of the two guys to have actually potted one for you tonight in the box seems like a bad idea. However, there’s some confusion about Blashill’s options.

He had only five players to choose from in this situation:

  1. Gustav Nyquist
  2. Anthony Mantha
  3. Henrik Zetterberg
  4. Ryan Sproul
  5. Niklas Kronwall

Those were the five players on the ice when the penalty was taken, so they were the only five that could have served it.

All-in-all, Blashill probably should have put either Zetterberg or Kronwall in the box. My choice would have been Kronwall for being the one responsible for creating the penalty in the first place, but there’s argument to be made that without Alexey Marchenko, shortening the defensive bench to just four players might be risky.

I also think that this penalty coming after Blashill chose not to pull Howard for an icing faceoff in the Calgary zone with 2:34 to play stresses even more that the coach made some bad decisions in this game.