The Delay of Game Over the Glass Penalty is Silly

I’ve been watching a ton of hockey this playoffs and I have seen way too many delay of game penalties for players shooting the puck over the glass.  Not one of these penalties I saw was intentional and several times these silly over the glass delay of game penalties helped to decide the winning team.  The NHL really needs to take a look at this and reassess the severity of the delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass from the defensive zone.

In my hockey opinion the NHL should change the rule to be the same as the icing rule, where if a player flips the puck over the boards the penalty is that they are not allowed to change.  It’s been widely said that the reason this penalty was introduced was because players would flip the puck over the boards when they were tired in order to try to get a change.  This sounds very similar to why players decide to ice the puck.  However the difference is if players flip the puck over the boards they get a two-minute penalty, whereas if they ice the puck they just aren’t allowed to change.  Players make both plays for the same reason and both plays result in the same outcome of a delay in the game, so in my opinion both plays should be penalized the same way.

The over the glass delay of game penalty was to prevent players from intentionally playing the puck over the glass.  Of course nobody intentionally plays the puck over the glass now, but it still happens because in some cases it is inevitable and it’s just a few inches between a solid clear off the glass out of danger and a two minute penalty.  By replacing the two minute penalty for clearing the puck over the glass with the current icing rule that players aren’t allowed to change the NHL will still be able to deter players from intentionally clearing the puck over the glass when they are tired and not risk drastically affecting games from slight misplays.

A perfect example would be when Rick Nash took a penalty for clearing the puck over the glass and Russia went on to score on the powerplay and win the gold over Canada in last years IIHF Hockey Championships.  This is not the way teams should be winning games.  Everyone wants the best team to have the best chance at winning and this penalty only adds variance to the game, which decreases the chances of the right team winning.  I know the NHL wants parity and more goals and awarding silly penalties is one way to get both, but in reality this “delay of game puck over glass” penalty is hurting a lot more than it’s helping.  The penalty was added to do a job.  Now that the NHL has found another way to deter players from delaying the game (not allowing changes) they should quickly do away with this minor penalty and avoid any more controversial finishes.

4 comments to The Delay of Game Over the Glass Penalty is Silly

  • Tatum  says:

    The opinion of the intelligent is better than the certainty of the ignorant.

  • C. Alexander  says:

    Thank you Niko for the logical solution for THE most frustrating and unjust penalty in hockey. I have been suggesting the same solution for years (as far back as when only the goaltenders were assessed this penalty). I may be mistaken but for some reason I seem to remember the delay of game by shooting the puck out of play was unofficially dubbed the “Gerry Cheevers Rule” due to his common practice of relieving pressure via this method. If this is incorrect, I apologize. I believe the rule was adopted in the 1970-71 season and why it was only applicable to goaltenders.

    During the period the penalty was only assessed to goaltenders, I was even more livid over the injustice of the penalty. I would see a goaltender get assessed this penalty then witness the same ‘infraction’ done by non-goaltenders two or three times during the same game and no penalty would be assessed. It absolutely boggled my mind that a goaltender, who wears a blocker glove (with adequate stick gripping ability) and a glove (with marginal stick-gripping capability) and uses a broad, flat stick with marginal puck handling capability and wears much more bulky equipment that marginally hinders puck handling capability, would get a penalty of this sort while a non-goaltender with significantly greater puck control and maneuverability would not.

    When I heard that the goaltender-only delay of game for shooting the puck out of play was going to be reviewed during the off-season I was elated. Finally the powers that be came to their senses. Fortunately, they made the infraction less unjust by applying it to every player; unfortunately, the rule still lives. When this was announced, I think I looked for the nearest wall to bash my forehead against.

    I have read some of the comments from people who agree with the rule with the most common one seeming to be that it should force players to increase their skill by finding an alternate solution to their situation instead of shooting the puck out of play. Considering I’m completely polarized to this penalty, I’ve paid close attention to these penalty calls and have observed the replays closely after the penalty gets called. I am not so polarized that I have kept statistics, but have observed that by far the majority of the situations when the penalty is called is not while a player (and team) is under extreme duress forcing the player to desperately flip the puck out of play to relieve the pressure. The majority of the situations are during the regular flow of the game and the player is doing what he has been taught to do to advance their team out of their end and go on offense – play it out along the boards and not through the centre of the ice (unless more advantageous with little or no risk). The majority of the time that the puck flies out of play (resulting in the penalty) because the player is trying to advance the puck is when the puck is on end and the player has way less control.

    Out of all the penalties, this one is the most defeating and demoralizing to a team. Other than ‘too many men’, the rest of the penalties are more easy to swallow as the players are making aggressive hockey plays (usually checking) with a lot of them being dubbed ‘good penalties’ but shooting the puck out of play when all you were trying to do is advance the puck towards the opponent’s end is defeating.

    I am dreading the day when the team I support gets back to the Stanley Cup Final, pushes the series to a 7th game and it goes into overtime and completely dominates the other team who is only alive due to their goaltender ‘standing on his head’. Then the unspeakable happens (which I am now speaking about), a defenseman on my team sees his forward streaking to get in position for a breakaway and the defenseman tries to flip the puck off the boards or glass but it flies out of bounds because the puck is on edge (and he gets bumped a bit by an opponent (I’ll throw that one in just to increase the drama)). So instead of a possible breakaway in overtime, game 7, my team gets a penalty and the other team scores 8 seconds into the powerplay for their only shot on goal in the overtime. My team doesn’t win the Stanley Cup. (Again). …And I’m looking for another wall (probably concrete or brick, this time) to bash my head against. That might give some fans some nightmares – sorry, but it could happen.

    The point of the scenario above is to point out that it seems only this type of situation might be the only way the rule gets changed to emulate the icing rule (which does greatly impact the strategy of the guilty team, often resulting in using up their time out and/or results in a goal by the other team). Furthermore, recall the Stanley Cup winning goal by Brett Hull, game six, 1999 – skate in crease rule (not called) Buffalo Sabres go ballistic – if it was called, Dallas Stars would go ballistic – either way, stupid, frustrating rule that either way did not really affect either the goaltender being able to make the save or the player making the goal (no harm, no foul). The ‘skate in crease’ rule was altered during that off-season to reflect ‘no harm, no foul’. Will it take the same type of scenario to get the delay of game penalty rule altered? I prey it doesn’t and the rule is altered out of common sense.

  • C. Alexander  says:

    As a clarification on my comment made on December 19th, I personally proposed that both icing and puck out of play should be treated the same way – no line change, but not a penalty – quite a few years before the rule for icing was introduced. When I heard the NHL was adopting the icing rule I shook my head, found another wall…. (what about puck over the glass, it’s the same thing!!!)…. and lost my ability to do math due to massive brain damage. My initial proposal for the current icing rule was only a personal opinion, not ‘officially’ suggested.

    There are only two things about hockey I have been consistently vocal about over many years (decades, actually); this issue and Kerry Fraser’s refereeing (I have never witnessed another referee consistently alter the outcome of games due to jaw-dropping, incomprehensible penalty calls – like a good waiter in a quality restaurant, you do not notice them as you enjoy your evening but they deliver their service and perform their job efficiently (a referee should be the same – not so with Kerry Fraser)). At least with Mr. Fraser’s retirement, I can reduce my forehead-meets-wall incidents.

    Also, I pray you forgive spelling of pray (prey). Maybe it’s the brain damage…

  • Richard  says:

    Your opinion is identical to the one I’ve been spouting on Facebook lately., It’s a terrible penalty. Especially when you consider an icing call isn’t a delay of game ?Come on. In fact the puck over the glass being the same as an icing call is the exact rule change I’ve said should be made.

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