The Philadelphia Flyers were frustrated with the officials after an unexpected faceoff violation penalty.
It all started with 8:06 remaining in the third period, with Boston leading 4-2. Boston’s Brandon Carlo had just been called for tripping, giving the Flyers a terrific opportunity on the power play.
Flyers center Derick Brassard was tossed out of the dot by linesman Dan Kelly. Claude Giroux skated in to face off against Boston’s Patrice Bergeron.
On a defensive zone draw, the defending player is required to put his stick down first. With Bergeron’s still in the air, Giroux jumped the gun and took a swipe at the ice. His stick clipped Kelly’s hand – it wasn’t much contact, but it was there. Bergeron reacted, also contacting the official and knocking the puck out of his hand.
The whistle blew. The officials huddled to discuss the play before sending Giroux off for a faceoff violation. (Officially, the penalty is assessed to the team; Philadelphia sent forward Zack MacEwen off to serve the minor.)
Brassard discussed the situation after the game.
“There’s a lot of new linesmen around the league — there’s young guys and there’s older guys obviously,” said Brassard. “We’ve just got to find a way to work with them. He’s probably going to watch it. For us, it was a reset because Bergeron kind of pushed the hand of the ref, so that puck never touched down. So for me to go and get kicked out, obviously, we’ve got to be careful. [Giroux] has been around forever, so he knows and everything. That could have been a huge power play goal for us to come back in the game and be tied at the end. That’s why we’re kind of upset a little bit. It is what it is, hopefully that ref’s going learn from it and everyone makes mistakes.”
If a center should move prematurely prior to the face-off, or if the Referee or Linesman shall have dropped the puck unfairly, the face-off shall be considered a face-off violation and it must be conducted again.
When a least two face-off violations have been committed by the same team during the same face-off, this team shall be penalized with a bench minor penalty to the offending team. This penalty shall be announced as a “Bench Minor Penalty for Delay of Game – Face-off Violation.”
The rulebook then digs into specifics:
Face-off violations shall be summarized as follows (any of the four on-ice officials may identify a face-off violation):
(i) Encroachment by any player other than the center into the face-off area prior to the puck being dropped. Players on the perimeter of the face-off circle must keep both skates outside the face-off circle (skate contact with the line is permitted). If a player’s skate crosses the line into the face-off circle prior to the drop of the puck, this shall be deemed as a face-off violation. A player’s stick may be inside the face-off circle provided there is no physical contact with his opponent or his opponent’s stick.
(ii) Encroachment by any player into the area between the hash marks on the outer edges of the face-off circle prior to the puck being dropped. Players must also ensure that both of their skates do not cross their respective hash marks. Contact with the line with their skate is permitted. If a player’s skate crosses the line into the area between the hash marks prior to the drop of the puck, this shall be deemed as a face-off violation. A player’s stick may be inside the area between the hash marks provided there is no physical contact with his opponent or his opponent’s stick.
(iii) Any physical contact with an opponent prior to the puck being dropped.
(iv) Failure by either center taking the face-off to properly position himself behind the restraining lines or place his stick on the ice (as outlined in Rule 76.4).
“Properly position himself behind the restraining lines” shall mean that the center must place his feet on either side of the restraining lines that are parallel to the side boards (contact with the lines is permissible), and the toe of the blade of his skates must not cross over the restraining lines that are perpendicular to the side boards as he approaches the face-off spot.
The blade of the stick must then be placed on the ice (at least the toe of the blade of the stick) in the designated white area of the face-off spot and must remain there until the puck is dropped. Failure to comply with this positioning and face-off procedure will result in a face-off violation.
Whenever a team has committed two face-off violations during the same face-off, the Referee shall immediately assess the offending
team a bench minor penalty for delay of game.
It’d be great if the officials – or the game’s Officiating Manager – could provide some additional information post-game. Not that they need to justify the penalty, but to provide some additional information as to what prompted the call. In this case, it appeared to be Giroux’s early movement, including the initial contact. No official explanation was provided.
This is the fifth faceoff violation penalty called this season; the third in a game officiated by referee T.J. Luxmore (VGK vs. SEA 11/9, VGK vs. MIN 11/11).
The Bruins scored less than a minute later – with the teams skating 4-on-4 – to go up 5-2.
Referees for the game were T.J. Luxmore (#21) and Chris Rooney (#5). Linesmen were Dan Kelly (#98) and Libor Suchanek (#60).