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.'”

Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Montreal Canadiens v Minnesota Wild
Leave a comment

Does the NHL have a cocaine problem?

TSN caught up with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who provided some fascinating insight:

“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” Daly said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.”


Daly said that he’d be surprised  “if we’re talking more than 20 guys” and then touched on something that may be a problem: they don’t test it in a “comprehensive way.”

As Katie Strang’s essential ESPN article about the Los Angeles Kings’ tough season explored in June, there are some challenges for testing for a drug like cocaine. That said, there are also some limitations that may raise some eyebrows.

For one, it metabolizes quickly. Michael McCabe, a Philadelphia-based toxicology expert who works for Robson Forensic, told ESPN.com that, generally speaking, cocaine filters out of the system in two to four days, making it relatively easy to avoid a flag in standard urine tests.

The NHL-NHLPA’s joint drug-testing program is not specifically designed to target recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. The Performance Enhancing Substances Program is put into place to do exactly that — screen for performance-enhancing drugs.

So, are “party drugs” like cocaine and molly an issue for the NHL?

At the moment, the answer almost seems to be: “the league hopes not.”

Daly goes into plenty of detail on the issue, so read the full TSN article for more.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.