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Learning the Game: The delayed penalty.

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A quick breakdown on what constitutes a delayed penalty in hockey.

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

I’m sitting here watching the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers battle it out in the second period of a potential elimination game. (Pit leads the series 3-2).

Note: Sean Couturier with a breakaway goal and it’s 3-2 Flyers.

Earlier in the game, Rebecca — one of the writers here at the Sin Bin and new hockey fan herself — was watching and asked what the difference was between a penalty and delayed-penalty. I quickly responded with “there is no difference”.

Her response was simple yet justified. “Huh?”

This is one of the many reasons why I love having her on this team of writers. As someone who grew up around the game, it’s so easy to overlook these little details that may leave others scratching their head. I’m sure if she has this question, so do others.

So let me unpack my answer a little.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

What I mean by “there is no difference” is that it’s not the penalty that causes the delay, it’s the context of it.

Say Sidney Crosby, a forward for the Penguins, is skating down the ice with the puck but is tripped by a player on the Flyers.

If Crosby loses possession and a Flyers player instantly grabs the puck, the whistle is blown and the play is stopped. The Flyers player will go to the penalty box and take some time to think about what they did while the Penguins have a player advantage (5 players vs 4 players) for the duration of the power-play.

So what happens if Crosby doesn’t lose possession of the puck or Jake Guentzel, another forward for the Penguins, grabs it before a Flyers player can touch it? Well, you have a delayed penalty.

The official isn’t going to stop play if the team that was tripped has possession of the puck, and instead will raise their hand to signal a “delayed penalty”.

Many times you will see the team which is not the offender (the Penguins here) pull their goalie for an extra attacker. They do this because it’s safe to leave the net empty during the game because the play is stopped as soon as a Flyers player takes possession of the puck.

There are some side notes that may help you understand what is happening on the ice.

If the official raises his arm for a delayed minor penalty (2-minutes) and the non-offending team manages to score a goal (Penguins in the above situation), the penalty is wiped out and nobody from the Flyers will be sent to the box.

If the offending team (the Flyers) commit another penalty while there is a delayed penalty, both players will go to the box. Only one will go to the box if a goal is scored with two delayed penalties.

The player will still go to the box and the non-offending team will be on the power play if a goal is scored during a delayed call for a 5-minute major.

There are plenty of other instances involved with delayed penalties such as when you can come out of the box, reviews, etc., but I will save that for another post. I just wanted to get this out while I sat here watching the game.

* Below is an interesting video of the Ottawa Senators using the delayed penalty to waste the remaining time of their own penalty. As a result the Senators were on a power-play instead of playing 4-on-4 hockey.