Pittsburgh Penguins forward Noel Acciari had all charges dismissed after a speedy trial on a possible high sticking penalty.

Acciari collided with Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson in the neutral zone. As Johnson fell forward, Acciari’s stick caught him right below the visor, cutting Johnson’s nose. 

The officials huddled to discuss the play.  Acciari was initially issued a double-minor penalty for high sticking, which grants the officials the ability to review the infraction. 

“[Calling the double-minor] was good judgment by the officials,” said retired NHL referee Dave Jackson on the ESPN broadcast. “I think there was an element of doubt to begin with. They got together, they huddled. There has to be a call on the ice in order to review it.”

Rule 60.3 allows for video review of a high-sticking double-minor:

Referees making this call shall have the option (but not the obligation) to review video of the play for the purpose of confirming (or not) their original call on the ice, and, in particular, whether the stick causing the apparent injury was actually the stick of the Player being penalized. Such reviews will be conducted exclusively by the Referee(s) on the ice in consultation with other On-Ice Officials… 

Sutherland and referee TJ Luxmore headed over to the penalty box to take a second look.  After a brief review, the penalty was waved off.  No call.  



While the broadcast didn’t catch Sutherland’s explanation, Jackson offered up how the review would’ve gone.

“The officials determined  after watching the revew the stick was not above the player’s normal height of his shoulders,” advised Jackson. “The Chicago player was bent over, therefore it’s not a penalty.”

It’s the right call. Back to Rule 60:

A “high stick” is one which is carried above the height of the opponent’s shoulders. Players must be in control and responsible for their stick. However, a player is permitted accidental contact on an opponent if the act is committed as a normal windup or follow through of a shooting motion, or accidental contact on the opposing center who is bent over during the course of a face-off.

Any contact made by a stick on an opponent above the shoulders is prohibited and a minor penalty shall be imposed.

 When a player carries or holds any part of his stick above the shoulders and makes contact with his opponent’s
neck, face or head so that injury results, in the manner of drawing blood or otherwise, the Referee shall assess a double-minor penalty.

“They got the review,” Jackson added. “They got the call right.”

No harm, no foul. Well, almost.  Johnson still needed some repairs, so the ‘harm’ was there, but no infraction on the play.