Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Looking for an illegal stick

I have a quick question for you in regards to this article.

Since the NHL increased the curve limit from ½ to ¾ post lockout, have there been any penalties issued for an illegal curve?

I can’t think of any off the top of my head. It seems to me that (1) ¾ is a huge curve and I can’t imagine the benefits of using a curve larger than that and (2) I think most players have more of an open face curve (i.e. Ovechkin and Jagr) which would make the curve appear larger than it really is.

Maybe I am missing the boat and Philly was taking the stick for another sort of measurement?

— Colin in Pittsburgh
Colin's right in that, with the new curve rules, there haven't been many illegal stick calls (at least that I can recall), but that's not to say there haven't been measurements and penalties.

The most famous recent stick measurement was when Ron Wilson used his knowledge of Teemu Selanne's stick width to negate a late-game power play against the Ducks.
"We had an inkling that his stick might be too wide," Wilson said. "When you look at it, it's almost the length of a goalie stick. I was just rolling the dice, and I figured I'd do it in the overtime and it worked."

From the rulebook on sticks:
Rule 10 – Sticks
10.1: The blade of the stick shall not be more than three inches (3") in width at any point between the heel and ½” in from the mid-point of the tip of the blade, nor less than two inches (2"). All edges of the blade shall be beveled. The curvature of the blade of the stick shall be restricted in such a way that the distance of a perpendicular line measured from a straight line drawn from any point at the heel to the end of the blade to the point of maximum curvature shall not exceed three-quarters of an inch (3/4").
10.2: The blade of the goalkeeper’s stick shall not exceed three and one-half inches (31/2'') in width at any point except at the heel, where it must not exceed four and one-half inches (41/2'') in width; nor shall the goalkeeper’s stick exceed fifteen and one-half inches (151/2'') in length from the heel to the end of the blade.
Does anyone else recall any stick measurement calls in the past two years?



At 2:10 p.m., May 13, 2008, Blogger Doogie said...

For some reason, I remember Kovalchuk being hit with an illegal stick penalty at one point, but I'm grasping here; it could have been the first year after the lockout.

Having the sticks in the NHL and IIHF conform to the same standard is probably what has done this, more than anything particular about the 3/4" curve. It seemed like a disproportionate number of guys nailed were European, though I could be wrong on this.

At 2:23 p.m., May 13, 2008, Blogger Hooks Orpik said...

I think you're right Doogie, and I think it was Edmonton that called Kovalchuk on an illegal stick once...And then he scored on a breakaway upon returning to the ice and then taunted the Edmonton bench.

But for the most part that's the only illegal stick challenge I can recall in recent memory.

At 2:33 p.m., May 13, 2008, Blogger PJ Swenson said...

I can't remember any other stick calls made since then, but do a search on Battle of California.

Earl and me were seated directly next to Selanne in the penalty box for that game, and there are a few photos of Teemu in what looked like shock.

At 3:00 p.m., May 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Kovy illegal stick incident was in the '01-'02 season:


Bob Hartley once called out Jagr's illegal curve in OT of a game, but I'll be damned if I can remember if that was when he was with the Caps, or the Rangers. It was relatively recently, though.

At 3:02 p.m., May 13, 2008, Blogger Ryan said...

I don't remember the specifics, but just after the lockout I remember someone calling for a stick measurement just before the shootout against Buffalo. I'll try to look it up, but I remember the announcers complaining about the delay.

At 4:24 p.m., May 13, 2008, Anonymous desdemona said...

It's very possible that we'll see them measure a stick tonight:

"Interesting scene at the end of the second period of the NHL Eastern Conference's final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. An unknown Penguins player's stick broke halfway up the shaft at about the same time Flyers forward Scott Hartnell was called for roughing.

"Because there were less than two minutes remaining in the period, Hartnell skated in the direction of Philadelphia's dressing room. But he was met at the door leading off the ice by Flyers goalie Martin Biron. The Philadelphia netminder had in his hand the blade half of the broken stick and handed it to Hartnell, no doubt asking Hartnell to get one of the training staff to measure the blade.

"It will be interesting to see if Flyers coach John Stevens calls for any stick measurements later in this series.

At 4:27 p.m., May 13, 2008, Blogger Master of the Obvious said...

I'm pretty sure that stick measurement incident involving Jagr happened during his stay with the Rangers. I think he got called for a penalty, though the details are hazy at best. For some reason I feel it may have also been in or around overtime or the shootout.

At 4:48 p.m., May 13, 2008, Anonymous Truth Serum said...

"The Philadelphia netminder had in his hand the blade half of the broken stick and handed it to Hartnell"

That is interesting because a player may not pick up a broken stick. I know for certain it is an IIHF and USA Hockey rule, but the NHL is not always in sync. Just the same, there is nothing to stop the Flyers from asking an offical during the next stoppage in play, to look at a player's stick based upon that evidence

At 5:18 p.m., May 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google is mah friend. The Jagr incident occurred on 3/8/06, and Jagr not only got penalized during OT, but he also got booted from the ensuing shootout due to the curvature of his stick.

Ah, memories!

At 7:01 p.m., May 13, 2008, Blogger Doogie said...

Hm, I seem to remember Kovalchuk getting nailed more recently than that, but it is interesting that he was called once against the Oilers. Incidentally, I'm pretty sure that's the only Oilers-Thrashers game that didn't end in severe hostility, which is bizarre for an interconference matchup.


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