Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Gonchar clause

If you bar players from taking a shot in the shootout if they are in the penalty box, you may open a whole can of worms with intentional penalties.

For example, say we're playing the Leafs. With 1 second to go, someone who can't shoot well (pick anyone on the Leafs) shoots it over the boards and gets a delay of game penalty. Wade Belak jumps on Alex Kovalev and punches him outright. Kovalev doesn't retaliate, but Markov does and so does Komisarek. Hapless Leafs jump in (though none of their shooters).

Multiple roughing penalties get handed out: 5 to the Leafs and 2 to the Canadiens. Notably, the Leafs lose none of their successful shooters, but manage to shorten their shooting bench to 15, so if the shootout goes beyond 15, Sundin is up when Gorges is shooting for the Habs. The Habs lose Markov who was goaded into a penalty.

Or take this example. I'm the Bruins playing the Sens in March. Gerber has been tanking now for a while. Andrew Alberts runs Emery and gets him to take a swipe. Both get penalties. Alberts can't shoot (who cares), and Emery must watch Gerber face the shooters.

This time it happened to be Gonchar that took the penalty, but more often than not it is not a skilled player doing that in OT (or any part of the game for that matter). Therefore, on average, between shortening the bench, targeting players to instigate and the chance of goalies missing the SO, there are many implicaations for this suggested rule change.

I wouldn't suggest asking for it. That is unless the Canadiens are craftier than I thought and have all these gameplans of their own up their sleeves.

Here's my proposed solution to the problem:

If the team on the PP scores on their first penalty shot, the game is over and won. No chance to reply for the offending team.

Wouldn't see many penalties that way, I bet. Whaddya think?


  1. Interresting idea, but i don't think that'll fly. What if the other team shoots first and scores? No Goal?
    There would have to be a whole slew of matched saves and goals to go through the entire roster to make purposely puting your worst shooters in the box worth while...
    And unless the penalty was in the last 3 seconds, having players in the box in OT would be a dangerous gamble. I don't think any team would rather take their chances and push for a shootout than try to win it evenly matched in OT

  2. First of all, the solution to conundrum no. 1 is to let the team on the PP shoot first. Fairly straightforward i should think.

    While I know the likelihood of getting through all the shooters is very rare, the point is that the advantage goes to the penalised team and not the opposition in the scenario where a bad shooter is penalised. So, why change the rule if that's the likely result?

    Besides, I would definitely get my defensive defenseman to shoot it over the glass if I were a coach in that situation. Worth guaranteeing he wouldn't shoot...

  3. Right....though letting the team on the PP shoot first and not letting the other team at least get a shot if scored on seems a bit much for a simple 2 min infraction.

    Defensive defensemen occasionally surprise Marek Malik?