ashton-remaxFor those that are coming aboard for the first time, welcome and I’m glad you’re here. Alternately, for those that have been on this crazy journey so far, thank you for your time and salutations for many more exciting articles ahead. While all things must come to an end, the Country Music Awards (CMAs) Road Trip has finally wound down and hockey is back here in Smashville. Yee-haw?!

Valleys and Mountains of Hockey

To say the least, the start of the season hasn’t been an easy one for our beloved Preds. Sure, there are a lot of people hoping that they are 10-0-0 coming back to Smashville but when you start the season with teams that were in the playoffs last year, it’s going to be a bumpy start. Good news; smoother highways and byways are ahead. Thanks to a strong outing in Colorado with a 5-1 snowballing of the Avalanche and tough shootout loss to Arizona 3-2, home is was a few hours’ flight away and they can make up for lost time and get on a solid winning streak.

Zebras, Whistles & Arms – Huh?

When watching the game, one of the most confusing parts of it are penalties. Compared to outs in baseball and fouls in basketball, these are infractions that are called by referees (the ones that have uniforms similar to a zebra) on players and sometimes a team’s bench. For newbie fans like myself, penalties are often hard to comprehend because there are several dozen reasons why they would be called. As a good starting point, let’s have a brief review on what a penalty is.

General Fundamentals of Penalties  

A penalty in short is when an infraction occurs on the ice. Most penalties consist of a person (or persons) going to an isolated box opposite of where the teams are located (commonly known as a penalty box, sin bin, or a jail cell). While a penalty is served, there are only three ways a player can get out: when the opposing team scores, time in the penalty time runs out, or the period ends and then a penalty carries over into the next period. This is the only exception where a player can reunite with their team but only until the start of the next period.

Digging our skates, deeper into the frozen pond, there are three general categories penalties fall under: minor, double minor, and major. Each category escalates in the amount of time a player is off the ice. A minor penalty carries two minutes, a double minor is four minutes, and major penalties are five or ten minutes off the ice depending on the infraction, may include an ejection, and monetary fines depending on the severity. For this week’s lesson on penalties, let’s look at the most bizarre ones because they are often the most difficult to comprehend as a growing hockey fan.

Penalties From The Far Side of the Ice

Hockey Ref Signal Chart

NHL Referee Signal Chart – A great reference for this week and beyond for understanding gestures made by referees

  • Charging – when a player specifically targets another physically while going after him at full speed. Best way to visualize this penalty is a football player going full tilt at another and walloping them into the ground. Can be confused with roughing but we’ll cover that penalty next week.
  • Holding The Stick – from the deep depths of the back room while the Zamboni gets reloaded with water to spread on the ice, this odd penalty occurs when a player grabs an opposing team member’s stick while a puck is in play. Imagine if the opposite was true and a player was penalized for holding their own That wouldn’t make too much of a game, eh?
  • Kneeing – here is another rare penalty assessed to a player that strikes another player in the knees. More specific, this is when an opposing player extends his leg while skating to cause a knee-on-knee collision. Can be confused with a tripping penalty because players use a stick in that case to cause a player to tumble.
  • Throwing The Puck Toward Opponent’s Goal – Since pucks used in the NHL are only an inch thick and three inches in diameter, they’re not meant to be thrown like a basketball, baseball, football, and so on. This penalty, usually served by a person on the team if it is actually enforced, occurs when a goalie throws the puck towards an opposing net. Given the amount of distance that is between the pipe sets, it would be hard for it to get that far without a stick touching it.
  • Throwing A Stick Towards a Puck – As if the last one was strange, this infraction takes the cake. This penalty is called when a player intentionally throws their stick towards a puck to move it on the ice and it doesn’t affect play. However, if the puck is touched, a stiffer penalty would likely result.
  • Leaving The Box Too Early – The final penalty on the docket for one that is common sense but occurs once in a blue moon. In this scenario, if a player decides to sneak out of the box a little too early, they go right back in there for another two minutes. In almost every case, they have to get past the doorman to get back on the ice and if they let them out early, there’s something foul going on.

Hopefully this interlude of hockeytology helps you and others understand the game we love. Want to know a fun fact you can share with your others? Did you know there have been 14 instances out of thousands of games played since 1973 of games being penalty free? The most recent occurrence happened in April 2015 between the Hurricanes and Bruins according to In the second part on our discussion of penalties, next week we will look minor penalties that fans would likely see during a Predators game.

Honorable Horn Blasts For The Home Team

With the horn already ready to honk a bit, let’s get right to it. Blasts go to Ryan Johansen for getting his first goal of the season against the Avs; newcomer Matt Irwin getting his first three goals this past week as a Predator; and Prince Filip with seven assists to lead the team in that category AND points; and finally Crazy Legs Craig Smith getting his fifth goal of the season to lead the team in that category. While the record may not reflect this, good things are happening here in Smashville.

Final Thoughts Before Next Week’s Face-Off

Well, hopefully this article was not only entertaining but informative as well. Share the love and pass on this and other great stuff we have here at Penalty Box Radio to your friends and family. Believe it or not, there is a still a lot of room left on the choo and #theride is just getting up to speed. It’s all part of #hockeylife and being a faithful member of the Loyal Legion. Chat with y’all next time.