This is why the NHL’s ‘judgment call’ penalty can be so controversial

Nazem Kadri scoring the game-winning overtime goal in his first game back after having surgery on his right thumb should have been the focus of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. This would have put the Avalanche one win away from winning the championship. Instead, the topic of discussion was whether there were too many guys on the ice and if Kadri’s goal should have even counted.

As video indicated Colorado had six players on the ice for a brief period of time previous to Kadri’s goal, Lightning coach Jon Cooper expressed his displeasure with the non-call. Kadri raced Mikhail Sergachev to the goal and hit the back of the net by Andrei Vasilevskiy’s blocker.

It’s a rare penalty that is usually quite clear when it is called. Obviously, after watching the video review, it is obvious that there were six Colorado players wearing white jerseys at once on the ice, but the officials failed to notice this.

So what precisely is the definition of the punishment for having too many men on the ice? Here is a summary of the rule.

Should Nazem Kadri’s extra-time goal have been considered?

What does it mean to have too many men on the ice?

Too many guys on the ice is defined as: in the NHL rulebook, in accordance with Rule 74.1:

Players may be changed from the players’ bench at any point during play, but the player or players must be off the ice and within five feet of the bench before the move can be made. See Rule 71, “Premature Substitution,” as well. If a substitute player enters the ice before his colleague is within the five-foot (5′) limit of the players’ bench (obviously causing his team to have too many players on the ice), a bench minor penalty may be awarded at the discretion of the on-ice officials. For the purposes of Rule 70 – Leaving Bench, a player who is leaving the playing surface while still within five feet (5′) of his players’ bench and whose replacement is on the ice is deemed to be off the ice.

The crucial language in the rulebook is that it is at “the discretion of the on-ice officials,” indicating that the play is ultimately a decision. There is a grey area that can be confusing because it is not entirely black and white.

Who is the victim of the too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty?

The player who serves the punishment for the team that received the penalty is at the coach’s discretion. Any skater can get the call, thus the unfortunate bottom-six player usually has to sit out for two minutes.

Avalanche had too many guys on the ice prior to Kadri’s goal, according to video.

In the NHL, how many players should be on the ice at once?

Each team will typically have five skaters on the rink, along with a goaltender in the goal. Therefore, there are normally 10 skaters and 2 goaltenders on the ice at once.

It’s not always the case like that. A team may only have four or even three skaters when they are on the penalty kill. A team may have six skaters on the ice if it pulls its goaltender. Depending on the circumstances, a team can contain as few as three skaters or as many as six skaters.

Naturally, there will be more than five bodies on one team on the ice at once during quick substitutions. Even if he still has two skates on the ice upon leaving the ice and is within five feet of the boards, a player is considered to be “off the ice” according to NHL regulations.

Can a team overcome having too many males on it?

A team can contest a number of things after a goal is scored, including offsides, high-sticking, and kicking motions.

One of them is not having too many men on the rink. In fact, if a penalty is missed while the opposition is in the midst of scoring a goal, coaches cannot contest the ruling.

In 2019, the NHL implemented new video review and coaches challenges. These are the only plays that can be reviewed under the new regulations.