Apr 21, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Carolina Hurricanes centerJordan Staal
(11) and Tampa Bay Lightning centerSteven Stamkos
(91) faceoff during the first period at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
- #5: Linesmen Enforcing On Faceoffs
The faceoff is one of hockey’s unique points, and it may seem all fine and dandy from an outsider’s perspective, but it is riddled with problems.
1. After warning a ‘cheating’ center, the linesman will usually just drop the puck the second time even if the center sets up illegally once again, or he’ll toss him from the circle and drop it immediately when his replacement sets up – even if he sets up illegally. Long story short: the linesman will try to get it right once, maybe twice, then feel the pressure to get the game going, and drop the puck. The Red Wings, much to the ire of other teams in the league, take advantage of this a lot; they’ll have Zetterberg line up as a winger, have a winger set up in an obviously illegal position, get tossed, and then have Zetterberg step in and use his illegal technique once the linesman is rushing to drop the puck. Joe Thornton is also seen doing this alot.
2. “Away down, Home down, puck down” is how linesmen are taught to prepare a faceoff, but this message often gets mixed results in delivery. The problem stems from the same issue as the first: linesmen are rushing to get the play going. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Tyler Bozak were not happy with the timing of the draws in the 2013 playoffs, and it shed some light on an issue that really needs to be fixed.
Linesmen are going to have to enforce rules more often for this problem to be fixed. Players will not change, and they will always find a way to ‘cheat’ and get their advantage. With linesmen around the league rushing to get the puck dropped, it doesn’t seem like this problem will go away, and it will still need more attention from the general media and fans to get any work done.