The face-off (or puck drop) element of hockey has been around as long as the sport itself.
It is a crucial part of the game, and it is what fans around the NHL countdown to every year.
However, a renewed focus on the already existing face-off rule (see Rule 76) has been the cause of much confusion so far in the 2017-18 NHL season. While some players and coaches are adjusting nicely, others have yet to fully grasp and accept the violations of the rule.
I already highlighted the differences between how this rule was treated in past seasons versus this season in my post “The New NHL Season is Bringing In a New Set of Rules With It“. The goal of this post is mainly to catch up on how the rule has been affecting the NHL thus far this season. For a quick review watch the video posted below.
Players such as Sidney Crosby seem to have adjusted quite nicely to the rule. “It’s like anything: You have to adjust, but I like it. I think it’s good. I feel like I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with it.” Said Crosby in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Being disciplined in the face-off circle leads the new enforcement of the rule to become an advantage for good centers and their teams.
It is still causing a lot of frustration for many player and coaches. Joel Quenneville, coach of the Chicago Blackhawks believes the enforcement of the rule lacks clarity. “Tonight was an epidemic for sure. Right off the bat, I don’t know what was the number but I think [captain Jonathan Toews] got tossed about nine times.” Said Quenneville to CBC Sports Online about their 4-3 OT loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 9.
Many fans have similar feelings on the matter.
I think the way face-offs themselves work is fine but it’s super dumb that if two players get kicked out of the dot then there’s a penalty because the ref can’t possibly be looking at both players at the same time so it would be super hard for them to see if they cheat.
-Chase Long, second year business major at Cal Poly SLO and NHL fan
Whether it comes down to the inconsistency of the linesmen or the discipline of players in the face-off circle, the enforcement of this rule has yet to prove itself worthy of having a permanent place in the NHL Rulebook.