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I was watching the LA Kings vs San Jose Sharks game tonight and saw something I hadn't see or realized before. There was a face-off in one of the defensive zones. The referee fake the puck drop and the players came together, the referee in the neutral zone blew his whistle (I am assuming to indicate an infraction). Instead of throwing a guy out of the face-off, the linesman held up his pointer finger indicating a "1" and showed it to the referee that blew the whistle. The face-off went on as usual, but I hadn't seen that before. My questions are:

  1. Is this new?
  2. What does it mean?
  3. If it was an infraction, why wasn't a player thrown out of the face-off?
  • Note: referees don't fake puck drops. Centers react to any movement to gain advantage on the draw. – Emily Oct 10 '14 at 20:10
  • @Arkamis do you have anything more on that? It seems like the do while watching the game. I have seen both sides all over the internet. – diggers3 Oct 10 '14 at 20:19
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    I spent a long time as a certified USA Hockey Referee. A linesman will hold the puck over the faceoff dot and release it when he thinks that a fair outcome will result. Pro referees, like pro players, have keen eyes and keen reflexes. It happens sometimes that the referee identifies an unfair situation while he is planning to drop the puck. In such a case, it's more of an "aborted puck drop" than a fake puck drop. The infraction isn't assessed because the player reacted. The infraction is assessed because of whatever caused the ref to abort the puck drop in the first place. – Emily Oct 10 '14 at 20:31
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    As an example: suppose I am about to drop the puck for a faceoff. First I check to see that the wingers in front of me are aligned properly. Then I check the wingers behind me. Then, I check the centers' positions. I will raise the puck over the faceoff circle. If one of those centers changes positions to a position I don't judge to be fair, I will not drop the puck, and instead either warn the player or throw him out of the faceoff. – Emily Oct 10 '14 at 20:34
  • @Arkamis thanks. It seems like they fake it on TV, but I never played the game and wasn't exactly sure how it worked. – diggers3 Oct 13 '14 at 14:34
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They no longer throw guys out of the face off circle. The face off will get waived off after the first infraction and after the second the player goes to the box. This is to mainly stop players from intentionally getting thrown out to let players get a short rest.

"76.6 Violations – If a center should move prematurely prior to the face-off, or if the Referee or Linesman shall have dropped the puck unfairly, the face-off shall be considered a face-off violation and it must be conducted again.

When a least two face-off violations have been committed by the same team during the same face-off, this team shall be penalized with a bench minor penalty to the offending team. This penalty shall be announced as a “Bench Minor Penalty for Delay of Game – Face-off Violation.”

  • Do you have a link to this rule? I heard them talking about not throwing them out after icing because they try and use it as a rest, but I didn't hear anything about every face off. – diggers3 Oct 9 '14 at 21:14
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    @diggers3 nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=26487 – PracticalWho Oct 10 '14 at 19:17
  • They will still eject players from the faceoff, except in the case where the player is the defending team's center following an icing call. – Emily Oct 10 '14 at 20:09

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