Getting to Know the NHL Rulebook: Penalty Shots 2

Welcome to the next installment of our series where the WIIM authors read big, boring NHL documents so you don't have to. Today's rulebook post deals with players taking the penalty shot and violations that occur during the course of taking the shot.

2013-14 Official Rules (PDF)

Rule 24 - Penalty Shots (cont'd)

24.3 Designated Player: If a penalty shot's been awarded because of a foul to a specific player, that player is "designated" by the referee to take the shot. In all other cases, the captain of the team awarded the penalty shot picks who takes the shot from the players who were on the ice at the time "when the foul was committed." Once the captain makes his choice and tells the referee, he can't change his decision. If the designated player is too hurt to take the shot, again, the captain makes his pick of the players who were on the ice "when the foul was committed."

Something I want clarified: "when the foul was committed." Often times when a penalty shot is called, the referee blows his whistle immediately; in other words, there's hardly ever any instances of a "delayed penalty shot." It does happen, however, and in those instances when it does, and when the captain needs to pick which player takes the shot, what does "when the foul was committed" mean? Does it mean the captain has to pick from the players on the ice when the foul occurred in real time, even if they went to the bench on a shift change? Or does it mean from the players on the ice at the time the whistle blows? I don't have a definitive answer, but I think if we consider the convention of recording penalty times according to when the whistle blows instead of when the foul occurs (hence, "delayed" penalties), perhaps "when the foul was committed" amounts to "when the whistle blows."

The last paragraph of this subsection is a one-sentence mess:

Should the player in respect to whom a penalty shot has been awarded himself commit a foul in connection with the same play or circumstances, either before or after the penalty shot has been awarded, be designated to take the shot, he shall first be permitted to do so before being sent to the penalty bench to serve the penalty except when such penalty is for a game misconduct or match penalty in which case the penalty shot shall be taken by a player selected by the Captain of the non-offending team from the players on the ice at the time when the foul was committed.I understand what this is trying to say, but there has to be a cleaner way to say "If the designated player also took a penalty, he will serve his time after taking the shot, unless he gets ejected via game misconduct or match penalty. In those cases, the captain will designate another player from those on the ice at the time the foul was committed." That wasn't so hard, was it?

24.4 Violations During the Shot: If the goalie violates any of the procedural rules or commits some other infraction, the referee will let the penalty shot continue and be re-taken if the player fails to score. Any infractions by the goalkeeper that would be minor penalties during the regular course of play are not assessed as such and instead result in the shot being taken over again (if the attempt doesn't yield a goal). If a goalie commits a second procedural violation or other infraction, he's assessed a misconduct, and the shot is taken over again (again, if the shooter fails to score). A third violation leads to a game misconduct.

If a goalie commits an infraction that would normally result in a major or match penalty, the shot shall be taken again if it failed, and "the appropriate penalties shall be assessed to the goalkeeper." The way this rule is written makes it sound like the penalties will only be enforced if the shot fails, but I have a hard time believing that they would simply wipe out a match penalty just because the shooter scored.

If a goalie in the course of trying to stop the shot throws his stick or any other object or "deliberately" dislodges the net, the referee awards a goal to the shooting team. However, if the goalie "accidentally" dislodges the net before the puck crosses the goal line, the referee can decide one of two things: to award a goal if he determines the puck would have crossed the line between the posts and under the crossbar had the net not been dislodged; or to have the shot be retaken if the attempt fails or it cannot be determined if the puck would have entered the net had it not been dislodged. Personally, I have a hard time believing NHL goalies are capable of "accidentally" dislodging the net unless some horrendously hilarious blooper causes them to just slide into the net frame uncontrollably. Also, there's no explicit provision here for the use of video review, but I think, since this rule talks about the integrity of the goal frame, the referees would be allowed to review the shot if need be. We'll see when we get to the section on video review.

If "any player, Coach or non-playing Club personnel" of the team not taking the penalty shot interferes with or "distracts" the player taking the shot while it's being taken and causes the shot to fail, (i) the shot will be re-taken. (ii) the interfering team incurs a bench minor penalty, and (iii) if the officials can pinpoint a specific player responsible, said player will incur a misconduct penalty; if the Coach or any non-playing Club personnel is guilty, he'll be suspended for the rest of the game, being ordered to the dressing room. The referee will report the matter to the Commissioner for potential further disciplinary action. It does not say if the penalties will still be enforced if the shot is successful, but I have a hard time believing they won't be enforced considering it involves a misconduct penalty to a player and an ejection to a non-player.

If anyone on the team taking the shot in some way interferes or "distracts" the goalie defending the shot and causes a goal to be scored, the referee shall rule no goal and the shooting team will incur a bench minor penalty. Same as above paragraph, if a player or Coach or non-playing Club personnel can be identified and held responsible, the player incurs a misconduct, and the non-playing personnel is suspended for the rest of the game and risks further disciplinary action from the Commissioner.

If a spectator throws something onto the ice during the shot or interferes in some other way with either shooter or goalkeeper and the referee decides it unduly influenced the result of the shot, the shot will be taken again.

If you remember Rule 10.6 on stick measurements prior to penalty shots, it's essentially repeated here: if the shooter's first stick is deemed illegal, he's assessed a minor penalty to be served after taking the penalty shot. His second stick is subject to automatic measurement, and if that stick is illegal, the shot is disallowed. He's not assessed a second minor and just takes his spot in the penalty box to serve the minor from the first illegal stick.


Something that bothered me while going through this rule: I used the phrasing "the shot will be re-taken," but the rulebook actually says "the referee will permit the shot to be re-taken." That phrasing suggests to me that further attempts at the penalty shot if rules are broken aren't automatic. The strange part is that the rulebook doesn't have a recourse for a team to not take a second crack at the penalty shot. So I don't know why the rulebook says "the referee will permit the shot be taken again" as if it's something optional.