Elbow? Meet shoulder. Photo courtesy Sportsnet

On Ryan Smyth's Five Minute Elbowing Penalty

Alright, let's go with it. Photo courtesy NHL.com

We’re going to watch and discuss a video.  Just like elementary school.

It’s a recent video.  It contains action that you may have seen live.

Let’s take a look at a penalty that occurred in last night’s game.

This is Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oilers getting a five minute penalty plus a game misconduct for elbowing Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Time of the penalty: 15:35 of the third period.

Call it me being a homer if you’d like, but there’s no way that this ‘elbow’ is a five minute major.

What exactly makes this a five minute penalty worthy of an automatic game misconduct?  Let’s consult Rule 48.1.  Follow along with the picture at the top of the screen.

  • Is the head targeted?  Is the head the principal point of contact? 

Watch the video.   Smyth’s arm does in fact rise up after the initial contact, and contact is made with Kunitz’s head.  But Kunitz’s head is not the principal point of conctact.

A penalty is a penalty, whether it be in the first period or with five minutes remaining in the third.  With that in mind, this call is absurd.  This isn’t a penalty in the first period, nor the dying seconds of regulation.  Somehow, the Oilers were able to work this one out and toppled the Penguins in a shootout.

Have your say:  Is five minutes too much?  Not enough?  Just right?  More dressing?

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Tags: Ryan Smyth

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