NHL officials can finally get their revenge.
As an on-ice linesman, responsible for dropping the puck on faceoffs in games from pee wee to junior, there were dozens of players I wanted to penalize for hitting my hands with their hockey sticks.
I couldn’t, of course. All I could do was say “Ouch!” before throwing them out of the faceoff circle and letting one of their teammates chop my hand while dropping the puck.
NHL linesmen now have the authority to penalize any player who doesn’t behave properly during a faceoff. Wingers have to be stationary, as do the centres while keeping their sticks properly on the ice and their skates behind the hash marks.
In one preseason contest, a linesman assessed three faceoff penalties in the game’s first 24 minutes. Now the players are complaining about the strict enforcement of the faceoff rules.
It probably won’t last, but the linesmen can save their fingertips and enjoy their new-found authority while they have it.