Kukla's Korner

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Handling Those Scrum And Face-Washing Incidents

Kerry Fraser of TSN answers an email regarding those 'after the whistle' scrums which break out from time to time.

There are two ways a referee can handle the scrum issue effectively. The most obvious is as I suggested, call a penalty against the player that commits the face wash. The other less conventional method I employed was one night at the Bell Centre when a known 'rat' on the Montreal team entered a scrum with the full protection of the linesman. A former teammate of the 'rat' (and a pretty tough guy I might add) had been traded to the opposing team and became engaged with the Montreal player. The 'rat' quipped, trashed talked and threatened his former teammate from the safety the linesman provided him. I skated in and said to the 'rat' and within ear shot of everyone, "It looks to me like you really want a piece of that guy (his former teammate) and maybe you have a score to settle with him?" I turned to the linesman and said, "Do this guy a favour and let him go so he can take care of his own business!"

The opposing player's eyes lit up in delight and shouted to please let him go. The 'rat' wanted no part of it and hung onto the linesman's jersey. The scrum quickly ended without as much as a glove in the face.

My best answer in an effort to eliminate the 'chicken scratch' is the simple one Brian. Assess an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a glove in the face along with hair-pulling, biting, grabbing face mask, diving/embellishment and any other 'unmanly' act a player might commit. This will have a trickle-down effect to hopefully eliminate unbecoming conduct at all levels of the game, including Junior hockey. It just has to be added to the priority list!


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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