Linesmen rarely hand out penalties in the National Hockey League. In some situations, though, they can send a player to the box, as linesman Shandor Alphonso did on Wednesday night.
Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen found himself on the receiving end of an unlikely penalty from Alphonso.
Johansen was tossed from the faceoff circle in Wednesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. As James Neal lined up to take the draw, Alphonso turned suddenly, appearing to react to a comment from Johansen.
The whistle blew. The officials conferred. Johansen went to the box.
“I put my team in a bad spot,” Johansen told the Tennessean’s Adam Vingan. “Obviously, them scoring a goal right after, definitely I would say that I cost us the game. I take it upon me 100 percent… It’s something I didn’t get too much sleep on last night.”
Rule 75 is rather broad when it comes to the many situations that would justify a minor for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. One of the listed situations would apply to Johansen:
75.2 Minor Penalty – A minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct shall be assessed under this rule for the following infractions: (i) Any identifiable player who uses obscene, profane or abusive language or gestures directed at any person.
If that language was directed at an on-ice official, as it appears to have been, that would fall under Rule 39, which covers Abuse of Officials.
39.2 Minor Penalty – A minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct shall be assessed under this rule for the following infractions:
(i) Any player who challenges or disputes the ruling of an official.
(ii) Any identifiable player who uses obscene, profane or abusive language or gestures directed at any on or off-ice official.
For situations where abusive language is directed at a referee or linesman, the officials are required to provide a report of the incident.
39.6 Reports – It is the responsibility of all game officials and all club officials to send a confidential report to the Commissioner setting out the full details concerning the use of obscene gestures or language by any player, Coach or non-playing Club personnel. The Commissioner shall take such further disciplinary action as he shall deem appropriate.
Commisioner Gary Bettman has taken action on these types of incidents in the past. Forward Andrew Shaw was suspended one game during the Stanley Cup Playoffs for using abusive language directed at an on-ice official.
This is not the first time that Ryan Johansen has been penalized by a linesman. When he first joined the Predators, linesman Greg Devorski sent him to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct.
linesman just gave Johansen a penalty pic.twitter.com/5di2oezVVD
— Stephanie (@myregularface) January 15, 2016
Having picked up two penalties on draws, perhaps next time Johansen will just stay quiet and wait for the puck drop.