I don't know where to put this for discussion so, I'll try here for now. Maybe one of the 'bosses' of this site will have a better idea & will lead me to the best place to discuss this topic.
In NHL rule 56 (Interference), at the section called "Possession of the Puck", it says:
"The last player to touch the puck, other than the goalkeeper, shall be considered the player in possession. The player deemed in possession of the puck may be checked legally, provided the check is rendered immediately following his loss of possession."
The reason for this thread is to discuss what is called 'finishing the check'.
Note that it says "player deemed in possession of the puck may be checked legally, provided the check is rendered immediately following the his loss of possession."
The word 'immediately' is the one in question here. I remember, not too many years ago, when a player check another player after the puck was gone, he was susceptible to be penalized for interference. At that time, 'immediately' meant just after the puck was gone.
Now, it seems that 'immediately' has been temporally stretched - that is, it could be a few seconds (or more?) after the puck is gone. I have to say that I disagree with this seemingly new 'interpretation' of this rule. I fear that it leads to a potential for injuring another player and, for that matter, it actually gives licence to hit to injure.
I know that the players being hit are more or less ready for this hit because they know that it may always come. Nevertheless, rough play is encouraged over skill and speed which are, to my thinking anyway, better aspects of the game of hockey.
It may very well be that this is being allowed to try to meet marketing needs in the US where, for many, gladiator-like spectacles are more appealing.
(By the way, this isn't necessarily a slam at any team in particular (ie: Flyers, etc.). Even if a player on my team (Canadiens) does it, I would still hope that he would be assessed an interference penalty.)
I can 'rant' some more but I'll stop here. I hope that this topic will be considered worth discussing.
IMO and from what I've realized from watching and playing hockey, when player A along the boards passes the puck, the opposing player has 2 seconds to legally check him.
When player A skates into the opposing teams zone and chips it in, the opposing player cannot make a large amount of contact. Interference calls are usually called in these situations since it's more evident.
I see what shortcat is saying. I've asked myself the same question many times. I see it all the time where several moments pass when a player had passed of the puck and then gets nailed by an opposion player.
I have a major issue with how many more rules get called by different refs and at different times during the year and individual games. It soo upsetting as a fan sometime seeing so many blatent penalties not being called when they should be.
The NHL should seriously consider how games are called as it's easy for the casual and well as die hard fans to interpret this as preferential treatment of teams and players can lead to the integrity of the league being called into question.