Sometimes, even in hockey, you just want to know why: Pizzo

Why do teams with a penalty get to ice the puck? Why don't goalies serve their own penalties? We want answers.

Questions from the game that deserve an answer

Edmonton's Connor McDavid clearly wanted some answers from the referee during this game. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

I have a four-year old nephew named Owen who is currently going through his "Why?" phase. No matter what you tell him, he will always reply with the word "why".

Uncle Rob: Owen, it's time to eat.
Owen: Why?
Uncle Rob: Because it's dinner time.
Owen: Why?
Uncle Rob: Because. 

(Editor's note: Maybe Owen is wise to your cooking skills.)

As annoying as that can be, I can't help but think that there's a little bit of a questioning child in all of us. I have found myself asking "why?" many times while watching hockey. And when I do, people usually take a long pause before responding, "Because."

Here are a few "Why?" questions from the first few weeks of the season:

A team that is short-handed gets to ice the puck. WHY?

I have never understood this one. You broke a rule, you have been punished, so why do you suddenly get a reprieve? Name another rule in sports that gives a penalized team a break. This is so simple: if you commit an infraction, you should be forced to be out-manned until the penalty is over.

A high-sticking penalty is two minutes, unless there is blood, then it's four. WHY?

I was sick the day they taught first aid in school, but I do know that blood is not always an indicator of severity. A solid whack to the face can be way more painful then a graze that produces a couple drops of blood. The referees are paid to know the difference between a minor and major so let them handle it. 

New Jersey's Nico Hischier shows referee Wes McCauley his bloody lip. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

When a goalie gets a penalty, a teammate serves it. WHY?

Imagine being found guilty in court and right after the judge hands down his sentence, you look at the bench and say "Ok, fair enough, but my buddy Steve will be serving the jail time for me."

I'm not even going to say that a penalized team has to have an empty net; they can use their back-up. But if Carey Price gets a penalty, he should have to sit in the box and feel shame like everyone else.

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When a goalie leaves his crease to play the puck, you can't hit him. WHY?

Goalies have the protection of their crease. It's their designated area to stop pucks and you shouldn't be able to touch them in that blue paint. But, if they want to leave that protective bubble and extend their duties beyond just preventing goals, I say they're fair game. 

A team can lose a game and still earn a point. WHY?

I know, I know, the charity point, blah blah blah. From a business standpoint, I understand why it exists (more teams in the running for a playoff spot equals more dollars), but competitively I hate it. In sports, there is a winner and a loser, that's why we keep score.  If you win, you get the points. If you lose, you go home with nothing. 

Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below.


Rob Pizzo has been a reporter for CBC Sports based out of Toronto since 2013. He has covered the NHL for Hockey Night in Canada, CBC, and was rinkside at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.


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