Friday, February 19, 2010

International versus NHL hockey.

I noticed a few things while watching Olympic hockey that struck me as being strange or different. There is no fighting. You get ejected from the game for fighting in the Olympics, where in most professional leagues it is just 5 minutes in the penalty box. Olympic hockey has no "obstruction" call. So, you see the defense playing the body when the forwards approach the net. In North American hockey, the defense goes after the puck. In the Olympics, the goalie can play the puck anywhere behind the goal line, even way into the corners. I saw a goalie get an assist yesterday. There is some hitting, but not as much, I suppose because the rink is wider and there's less play right up against the boards. There seems to be more hooking, although they don't seem to call it much. I noticed that the defense will hold the puck behind their net for long periods of time to allow a line change, but North American players tend to keep the puck moving and execute line changes a bit faster. Of course, there's the no-touch icing in the Olympics, with which I'm familiar from playing in recreational leagues where it makes sense. And I noticed yesterday that they resolve a tie with a 10 minute overtime, then a best of 3 shootout. Canada won the shootout, so I didn't get to witness any differences in the shootout, but there is a difference in the rules. In the Olympics, if the game remains tied after the first three shooters, any player can be chosen to shoot any number of times. In the NHL, I believe that everyone has to shoot once before anyone can shoot twice. In the NHL a team can dress 18 skaters and 2 goalies. In the Olympics it's 20 skaters and 2 goalies. In examining the rule book, I noticed that anyone who was on the ice can take a penalty shot, where in America only the victim of the infraction can take the penalty shot, which I think makes sense unless the guy gets dazed or injured in the process.