Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews saw a teammate in need of a stick, and decided to help the guy out.
It was cool. It showed amazing skill. It was totally illegal.
Auston Matthews casually returns a dropped stick to his teammate with a no-look behind the back flip pic.twitter.com/qK2JIaxFLZ
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 13, 2020
As impressive as Matthews’ behind-the-back stick flip maneuver was, it’s against the rules.
Here’s 10.3 to lay down the law:
A player who has lost or broken his stick may receive a replacement stick by having one handed to him from his own players’ bench; by having one handed to him by a teammate on the ice; or, by picking up his own unbroken stick or that of a teammate’s from the ice.
A player will be penalized if he throws, tosses, slides or shoots a stick to a teammate on the ice, or if he picks up and plays with an opponent’s stick.
A minor penalty shall be imposed for an infraction of this rule.
A player tendered a stick thrown on the ice from the players’ or penalty bench will not receive a penalty. However, the person responsible for throwing the stick will receive a bench minor penalty.
This isn’t the first time Matthews has pulled off this move. Earlier this season, he got away with the same play in a game against the Bruins.
Nice *illegal* stick flip ya got there, Matthews. Oh sure, you got away with one this time… pic.twitter.com/wd9y6Vlncs
— Scouting The Refs (@ScoutingTheRefs) November 16, 2019
We won’t argue that it’s an amazingly impressive move that requires amazing skill and hand-eye coordination. It just happens that it’s not a legal one under NHL Rule 10.3.