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10-10-2013, 06:58 PM
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A Fistful of Dollars
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This is a good review by Bill Meltzer regarding a situational moment in the game. It is worthy of a read...


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking by phone and communicating by email respectively with a pair of longtime NHL referees, Paul Stewart and Kerry Fraser. I asked both about the situation in Tuesday's game in which referees Kelly Sutherland and Darcy Burchell gave Craig Berube the choice between a four-minute five-on-four penalty and a two minute five-on-three.

Both men confirmed that the situation had been handled correctly, according to the rulebook.

In case you didn't see the game, here's what happened: Philadelphia's Jay Rosehill was called for a delayed-penalty roughing minor behind the play. The Flyers touched up for the stoppage and Rosehill started to skate toward the penalty box. As he did, a fracas ensued at centre ice. Rosehill saw it, left the box and jumped into the scrum.

After Sutherland and Burchell conferred with each other, they skated over to Flyers' head coach Craig Berube. According to Berube, he was given a choice between a four-minute 5-on-4 or a two-minute 5-on-3. Rosehill also got a 10-minute misconduct in addition to a pair of separate roughing minors -- one before the whistle and one after the whistle -- and there were offsetting minors to Philly's Zac Rinaldo and Florida's Tomas Kopecky.

Fraser, who was kind enough to respond at length to my email within an hour and then used our correspondence as a rule-teaching topic in his "C'Mon Ref" column at, told me that he had this situation happen more than once in his own refereeing career.

According to the NHL rulebook, when there are multiple but uneven minor penalties assessed to both teams for after-the-whistle infractions following a previous delayed penalty, the coach of the team with the extra penalties gets to decide which penalties he wants to be treated as offsetting penalties.

Since Rosehill took a penalty before the whistle, the Flyers were already going be shorthanded 5-on-4 for two minutes. When the after-the-whistle fracas developed, Berube had the choice of either:

a) having Rinaldo and Kopecky penalties offset (with no additional change in manpower) and Rosehill's second minor penalty being tacked onto the first for four minutes of 5-on-4 shorthanded time, or

b) having the Kopecky and second Rosehill penalties offset and having Rinaldo's minor served as the extra penalty, which would have meant Rinaldo and Rosehill concurrently serving two-minute minors and the Panthers playing 5-on-3 for that span.

Berube, of course, chose the first option. The odds killing off four minutes (or even five minutes, as the Panthers later did) of 5-on-4 time are significantly better than surviving a 5-on-3 unscathed for two minutes.

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