Hockey is fast, exciting, and brutally violent. As the game has gotten fast, more exciting, and more brutal, the need for player protection has grown. Unfortunately, the way some penalties are called has become ridiculous. Here are my least favorite calls:
55.1 Hooking – Hooking is the act of using the stick in a manner that enables a player to restrain an opponent.
When a player is checking another in such a way that there is only stick-to-stick contact, such action is not to be penalized as hooking.
This is a call the refs screw up all the time. A player gets his stick up for a brief moment, somewhere near the midsection, and the hand goes up. NOOOO! That’s not a fucking hooking. Make the damn call when you see a guy actually get hooked. How can you tell? It’s easy. When you see his body jerk back as if someone pulled on them, or you see the person applying the hook gain some speed, then you know it’s a hooking. That would eliminate all those times when someone gets a stick up, a player grabs the stick under their arm and skate away with it, and the ref blows the whistle on the guy who lost his stick.
57.1 Tripping – A player shall not place the stick, knee, foot, arm, hand or elbow in such a manner that causes his opponent to trip or fall.
Accidental trips which occur simultaneously with a completed play will not be penalized. Accidental trips occurring simultaneously with or after a stoppage of play will not be penalized.
If, in the opinion of the Referee, a player makes contact with the puck first and subsequently trips the opponent in so doing, no penalty shall be assessed.
The referees don’t call this one correctly either. There are plenty of times when a player steps on a stick, goes down, and gets the call. It’s clearly an accident, and the refs just don’t seem to care. A lot of the times this happens when a guy has one hand on his stick and is reaching for the puck. Unless a guy is making a sweeping motion, and the puck is nowhere near the stick, it’s almost impossible for the trip to be anything but an accident. Also, often times on a breakaway, a chasing defender will dive, and try to sweep the puck away, and will cause the guy on the break to fall down. If it’s clear that then intent is to play the puck, then it’s nothing more than a good defensive play. Do’t call a penalty or award a penalty shot for that.
61.1 Slashing – Slashing is the act of a player swinging his stick at an opponent, whether contact is made or not. Non-aggressive stick contact to the pant or front of the shin pads, should not be penalized as slashing. Any forceful or powerful chop with the stick on an opponent’s body, the opponent’s stick, or on or near the opponent’s hands that, in the judgment of the Referee, is not an attempt to play the puck, shall be penalized as slashing.
I’m not saying guys should have the right to hack each other at will. They aren’t lumberjacks, we don’t need that in the game. But look at the first line of that rule, “Slashing is the act of a player swinging his stick at an opponent, whether contact is made or not.” I’m sorry, but that is retarded. The rule needs a common sense makeover. I say call the penalty based on the result, not on the intent. If a player has possession of the puck, I’m 100% ok with an opposing player taking a solid whack at his blade. Show an attempt to play the puck, and it’s not a penalty in my eyes. If you miss, or even purposely hit his body, then make the call. If you break his stick, too bad, blame the stick manufacturer for making a twig that can’t stand up to the rigors of the game.
64.1 Diving / Embellishment – Any player who blatantly dives, embellishes a fall or a reaction, or who feigns an injury shall be penalized with a minor penalty under this rule.
A goalkeeper who deliberately initiates contact with an attacking player other than to establish position in the crease, or who otherwise acts to create the appearance of other than incidental contact with an attacking player, is subject to the assessment of a minor penalty for diving / embellishment.
64.2 Minor Penalty – A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who attempts to draw a penalty by his actions (“diving / embellishment”).
Anyone see anything missing in this rule? I do. How about putting in some wording that if a guy dives, there doesn’t have to be a penalty on the opposing player too. How many times have we seen a small hook, Crosby sheds some tears, and we get concurrent penalties. Is this a cruel freaking joke? The reason for those calls is of course because a player getting hooked is embellishing the hook, so thus a penalty must go both ways. I call bullshit, because a lot of times there is no hook, or trip or interference. A player feels a stick near him, pretends something happened, and tries to get a call. Send his ass to the box for acting, and make his teammates cover up for him on the PK.
I think what makes hockey soooooooo mcuh better than basketball is that the rules allow for our athletes to act like men, not weak little children that need protection. Basketball players are pussies, whining every time someone does so much as tap them lightly with their hands. If refs continue to call bullshit penalties, our sport will lose it’s toughness, much like basketball has. Protect the players, don’t baby them.
Disclaimer: Yes, this was posted on both Too Many Men on the Site and Broad Street Buzz. This topic needs more exposure, and I hope someone with actual leverage with the competition committee will take notice.