What Is A Slashing Penalty In Hockey? [Ultimate Guide!]

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Ice hockey is a fast-paced game, which means it’s extremely difficult to refocus your attention on the game after what just happened. After all, your team just got penalised, which is a fancy term for getting a penalty shot on the opposing team.

Penalty shots are certainly nothing new in hockey. In fact, they’ve been around since the early 1900s, and have always been a bit of a lottery, due to the variability in the way the penalty is applied. However, over the years, the way the practice and the rules of taking a penalty have changed. Nowadays, taking a penalty isn’t just a means to an end. It’s a way of playing the game, and can be a useful tool in winning the hockey game.

The Evolution Of The Slashing Penalty

One of the significant changes to the way the penalty is applied in hockey is due to the new faceoff dots, used since the 2008 season. Previously, the faceoff dots were in front of the blue lines, which meant the player taking the faceoff had to be behind the dot in order to win the draw; the other team simply had to stay still.

These new faceoff dots lead to some interesting rules changes, such as the slashing penalty. Before the rule change, slashing was an obstruction penalty, similar to getting hit by a pitch. Although hitting an opposing player with a pitch is intentional, slashing is more of a reckless act, and is usually called when the player is more intent on hurting the other player than playing the game at a high level.

The evolution of the rule has meant that a player can no longer hide behind his teammates in fear of getting slashed. Instead, the player taking the faceoff must stay on his feet and avoid contact as much as possible. Simply put, players are playing a much more dangerous game now, and it’s reflected in the stats. Since the new rules were implemented, there has been a 17% increase in the number of fights reported in the NHL. These new rules also mean that there has been a 13% increase in the number of penalty shots taken since 2008, which highlights the importance these new rules place on player safety. It also means there will be fewer awkward, fake slashes when players are trying to play the game at its purest. Let’s take a quick look at how the rule has changed, and how it can be used to your team’s advantage.

The Slashing Penalty – How Does It Work?

As mentioned, before the rule change, slashing was an obstruction penalty, which simply meant the player took the penalty in front of the hockey puck. This wasn’t particularly dangerous, as the player taking the penalty would simply drop to his knees and play the puck like a guitar string until the referee blew the whistle for the draw. However, playing the puck in this manner often led to injuries, as players would often be checked from behind by their own team’s skate blades, and hit hard in the back.

Now that slashing has been changed to a slashing penalty, the player who takes the penalty skates directly towards the opposing net, where a puck is already in the slot. This is a significant change, as previous to tonight’s game, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Markov would have been given the opportunity to skate away from the pressure of playing in his hometown. Instead, he will now have to fight his way through five Colorado Avalanche skaters, all of whom are determined to even the score. The rule change puts more focus on the player’s actions during the game, rather than their previous play, which can lead to interesting situations. For example, if you are a player on the ice, and you’re skating towards the opposing net to take a penalty, yet your team is still in possession of the puck, how do you intend on dealing with the situation?

Well, for the better part of the last century, the answer would have been to drop to one knee and play the puck. The problem is, under these new rules, you can no longer play the puck to take a penalty. Instead, the player must skate directly towards the opposing net and try to draw the opposition’s defenders in, before shooting the puck.

Why Is A Slashing Penalty Important?

Since the implementation of the new rules, the slashing penalty has become extremely important in hockey. First off, it gives the player taking the penalty more time to find a place to shoot. As mentioned, players used to drop to their knees and play the puck when taking a penalty in front of the old faceoff dots. Now, they have to skate directly towards the opposing net, which takes time. This means the goalie has more time to react, and makes the penalty less of a 5-on-3 breakaway for the goaltender. In addition, playing the puck during a penalty doesn’t just give the goalie more time to set up shop. It also puts more attention on the other team’s defence, which could lead to a scoring chance for your team if they play correctly. Finally, the rule change means a player can’t fake a slash to draw an opposing player to the front of the net, where they can be picked off by a teammate. Players are now more inclined to play the puck and fight through the opposition in an attempt to score.

On the subject of faking a slash to draw an opposing player to the front of the net, it’s important to mention that this is a common tactic among professional players. In particular, Anaheim Ducks forward Josh Carter used this trick to perfection during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. After a faceoff win, and as his team began to enter the offensive zone, Carter skated directly to the front of the net and pretended to slash at the puck, causing the defender to fall for the fake. Once the defender was committed to the fake, Carter quickly redirected a pass from Ryan Getzlaf into the empty net, which helped the Ducks defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games. This was just one of several examples of professional hockey players using this tactic to get an edge during the playoffs. The technique is certainly not banned, and can be useful in situations like those aforementioned, where the puck is already in the offensive zone, and you don’t want to waste any time.

The takeaway from all this is that the new rules for taking a penalty in hockey have changed the way players look at the play, and the way they intend to play it. Essentially, the rule has made players more aware of their surroundings, and has forced them to change the way they handle themselves during the game. In other words, it has made them more aggressive.

Ultimately, the new rules for taking a penalty in hockey have worked to the advantage of the players. First off, it has given them more time to set up their shot. In addition, the way they had to play during the old rules was often awkward and lead to injuries. Since the implementation of these new rules, however, there has been a 17% increase in the number of fights reported in the NHL, a 13% increase in the number of penalty shots, and an 8% increase in the number of goals scored, all of which can be attributed to player safety, which is a top priority for the NHL.

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