Back in 2006 I was sitting at my friend’s house watching my favorite hockey team; the Buffalo Sabres take on the Carolina Hurricanes in an eastern conference final show down. It was game 7 of the Eastern Conference final, which is a do-or-die situation, either you are victorious and proceed onto the Stanley Cup Finals or you are defeated and cease your hockey season immediately. The Sabres were playing on an injury-depleted roster, unlike their foes the Carolina Hurricanes, the Sabres were holding up a strong lead for most of the games entirety. This was until Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell flipped the puck over the glass on an attempt to clear the puck out of friendly zone, which then resulted in a 2 minute delay of game penalty. The penalty was just added to the NHL rulebook that season; however it came to haunt the Sabres because on the ensuing powerplay the Carolina Hurricanes scored which eventually led to their victory and a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals.
I believe that the penalty should be abolished, it ended up losing the Sabres the game, but all in all it does lead to a brighter future. A season later the penalty is no longer as apparent as it had been, and there is talk amongst the league that the penalty may be eliminated from the NHL rulebook. Even though my favorite team had to be the “scape-goat” for the rule to be magnified it serves justice to the entire league and surrounding hockey community.
When the rule is eventually abolished teams will no longer be penalized for honest mistakes or put in trying positions for a small error. Fans will no longer be tearing their hair out at the arrogance of the NHL for creating such a rule and a small delay of game penalty will no longer decide the fate of a hockey game that is meant to be glamorized by raw skill and talent. No longer will teams be looking over their shoulders saying “I wish we would have never gotten a penalty for trying to clear the puck”, but they will be looking into the future looking into a whole new aspect of hockey where one small penalty wont us the game. It will lead to a much happier NHL and the community that surrounds it.
If the penalty had not been apparent in the 2005-2006 NHL season I would not be as deeply impacted by it as I am today. The Buffalo Sabres may have captured their 3rd Stanley Cup Final berth and gone on to defeat a weaker team in the Edmonton Oilers and win their first Stanley Cup in more than 30 years as a Hockey club. However now because of this penalty I am able to look forward to a time where the Buffalo Sabres will win their first Stanley Cup; and the delay of game penalty (which results from the puck being flipped over the glass in your own defensive zone) will no longer be a thing of the present but a thing of the past.