About that controversial OT faceoff penalty from the Minnesota-Nashville game…


One of the stranger calls of this young NHL season occurred during overtime of Minnesota’s 2-1 victory over Nashville on Saturday.

About halfway through the extra session, Preds center Paul Gaustad was given a two-minute delay of game/faceoff violation minor for “batting” the puck with his glove.

This, of course, is a direct violation of one of the new faceoff rules for this season — No. 76.4, which prohibits players from playing the puck with their hands.

The Wild proceeded to score (and win) on the ensuing power play, much to the chagrin of the Predators, who protested the call vehemently.

The protestations were based partly on the puck drop of linesman Ryan Galloway — here’s a GIF of the incident, courtesy the Nashville Examiner:

Hardly a textbook draw, given the bounce (though it’s not like he Gronkowski’d the puck.) The bigger issue was the subsequent penalty call, which seemed harsh given the game was in overtime.

Following the contest, The Tennessean asked the NHL’s Situation Room for clarification on the call, which garnered this response:

The referee deemed that rule 76.4 applied because as it reads “Both players facing-off are prohibited from batting the puck with their hand in an attempt to win the face-off.”

That rule applied because the puck was batted by Paul Gaustad’s left glove off the face off.

Now, former NHL referee Kerry Fraser has weighed in on the call:

Even though I have attempted to provide a reasonable explanation as to why the linesman felt Gaustad’s actions resulted in a hand pass, I do not believe this interpretation to be correct. 

In observance of the spirit and intent of Rule 76.4, I deem that incidental contact of the puck resulted to the back of Gaustad’s glove from his natural hand motion in an attempt to win the draw and that a face-off violation did not occur on this play.

There was no deliberate attempt by the Nashville center to play the puck with his hand.

Fraser then explains the best course of action would’ve been for to blow the play dead, reset the clock and re-do the faceoff.

Issues with the new faceoff rules are popping up throughout the league. In Washington, players told NBC Channel 4 they’ve had a hard time adjusting to the new regulations.

Matt Hendricks said he’s noticed referees are calling faceoff penalties “pretty strongly” this season, while Jay Beagle said he was lucky to avoid getting called for one earlier this season.

“There was one instance, I actually tried to grab it and swing it back with my hand and missed,” he explained. “I was thankful for that.

“After that, I was like, ‘Gee, I gotta watch it.'”

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?