The 'Delay Of Game' Penalty Continues To Be The Dumbest Rule In Hockey That Doesn't Involve A Trapezoid
Now listen, I understand that Pittsburgh deserves some blame for accidentally shooting the puck over the boards in their own zone THREE different times in the span of just couple minutes. This wasn't some rule that was created yesterday, and they obviously should have been more careful clearing the zone in such a tightly contested playoff game. That being said, the fact that a couple of pucks being shot a couple of inches too high all but gave the Capitals a game tying goal really compromises the spirit of the sport. We aren't talking about the absurdity of the penalty because Pittsburgh was able to advance in overtime, but the fact that a loose rebound accidentally getting whacked over the glass could have indirectly cost a team a playoff series is beyond stupid.
I know why the 'Delay of Game' penalty was created and surprise, surprise it's not because players were constantly shooting the puck out of play to get themselves out of trouble. It's because the NHL was looking for anyway possible to cultivate more penalties in hopes of increasing scoring. That's all well and good when you are trying to bump up the league average of goals per game by a percentage point during the regular season, but it couldn't be feel more forced when teams are being GIFTED 5-on-3 powerplays that they did absolutely NOTHING to earn in the closing minutes of elimination playoff games.
Just think about that for a quick second. Chris Kunitz puts a little less juice on that back hand he rims it high off the glass and it's a hell of a dump. Nick Bonino smacks that puck out of mid-air and into the neutral zone and were singing his praises for having excellent hand eye coordination. If Ian Cole is one step closer to the blue line that puck is in the Penguins bench and we are looking at nothing more than an in zone face-off. Essentially the difference between a smart hockey play and a detrimental infraction is a slight miscalculation in accuracy while under duress? A player not realizing exactly where he is on the ice while he's under heavy pressure and trying desperately to get the puck out of the zone has to serve the same amount of time in the box as someone that winds up and intentionally takes a crack at someone's leg with their stick. If you didn't see how ass backwards that rule was before then you certainly should after having watched the Capitals nearly pull out a season saving victory on anything but their own merit.
Sidenote: Players are doing this to save games, while improperly executed clears are potentially costing them games. Makes sense to me.