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Islanders: Understanding controversial Sidney Crosby penalty situation

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MAY 20: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins spins away from Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders during the first period in Game Three of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum on May 20, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MAY 20: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins spins away from Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders during the first period in Game Three of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum on May 20, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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In a game with many heated moments, one that’s going to stick with New York Islanders fans will be: “Why was Sidney Crosby allowed out of the box early?” After all, Crosby took the winning faceoff that resulted in Jeff Carter’s PP goal while he should have been in the penalty box.

Did the referees make a big mistake or are we all forgetting something or were we all just unaware of some dumb rule in the NHL rule book?

Turns out it was option three. Of course. There’s a dumb rule that covers this exact situation.

New York Islanders fans shouldn’t be mad about Crosby situation

If you don’t know what play I’m referencing go back and watch Game 3. At the 5:35 mark of the third period, all hell breaks loose in the Pittsburgh end. All ten skaters on the ice are sent to the box with coincidental roughing minors.

Jake Guentzel however picks up an extra minor for slashing Kyle Palmieri on his way to the penalty box. So Isles go to the power play.

The controversy occurs when Anthony Beauvillier scores a power-play goal for the Islanders. You’d think that because Jake Guentzel picked up the extra minor he’d be the one out of the box (or whoever was serving his extra minor).

Wrong. Crosby gets to decide who leaves first.

Because all of these penalties occurred at the same time they will all expire at the same time and because only one actually goes up on the clock as a penalty (coincidental minors don’t go on the clock) the captain gets to decide which one ends first and Crosby chose his roughing minor.

So when Beau scored Crosby left and the other five Penguins, including Guentzel, remained.

It’s all in the NHL’s rule book. Table 14 example H7 is the one that’s the clearest to me (see page 150).

I know what you’re thinking, and yes it’s a dumb rule. It makes no sense and I see no logical application for this rule. I’m sure it exists for a reason (I can’t imagine what that reason is). But the rule is clear and it perfectly explains what happened. There should no controversy anymore.

Now we all know this for the next time it comes up.

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