THE MORNING SKATE — Are Changes Needed for End of OT Penalties?

Kevin Schultz

At the end of last night’s overtime between the Flyers and Islanders, John Tavares made a pretty smart play and blatantly tied up Flyers star Claude Giroux as time expired. The referee’s arm went up immediately and Tavares was called for holding, but the penalty didn’t matter as time ran out and the game headed to a shootout. Tavares would go second in the shootout and miss, but the Islanders would go on to win as Josh Bailey scored the decisive goal.

Earlier in the year, a similar thing happened going the other way; back on March 3rd at the Coliseum Ottawa’s Andre Benoit got a hooking call with four seconds left in OT after tying up Kyle Okposo.

It’s not often that penalties in sports don’t matter one iota, but this is one of those times. It makes sense to hook and grab opponents at the end of OT than it does to not do those things. Taking a penalty with only a few seconds left doesn’t really do much damage to your team — what power play is going to be able to win a faceoff and setup in five seconds? So maybe, it’s time to adjust the rules as far as penalties in OT, if we’re not going to change the shootout itself.

Over at Yahoo, Greg Wyshynski took note of Tavares’ hold and wrote about it this morning (also; Wyshynski is a staunch opponent of the shootout). Emphasis his:

Tavares helped break that momentum by illegally interfering with Claude Giroux, and earned a 2-minute holding minor at the end of OT.

Which, of course, has no repercussions for the shootout.

Which, of course, is asinine.

From Rule 84.4 from the NHL, here’s how shootouts are handled with regard to penalties:
“All players are eligible to participate in the shootout unless they are serving a ten-minute misconduct or have been assessed a game misconduct or match penalty.”

In other words: Slash, trip, cross-check, punch, elbow or do what-you-like at the end of overtime; as long as you’re handed a minor penalty, you’re still golden for the skills competition.

So this becomes the most common sense of common sense rules changes: Players serving a penalty at the end of overtime can’t participate in the shootout.

Hey, novel concept: This might prevent players from breaking rules with reckless abandon in the final seconds of the 4-on-4 with little to no consequence.

In case you missed it or want to see it again:

ALSO: Scott Mayfield and U of Denver are on ESPNU tonight at 8pm… Anders Lee, Robbie Russo and Notre Dame are on ESPN3 Saturday at 1:30pm…