On Wednesday night, we got our first victim.
During their 5-4 preseason game loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Alex Semin of the Carolina Hurricanes was whistled for a delay of game penalty late in the second period. Why? No, he didn't put the puck over the glass in his own zone; his jersey was found to be tucked in.
"We're aware of it. [Semin] wasn't doing it on purpose," said Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller after the game. "First time wearing the jerseys and [it] kinda just kept popping up. But they said they'd be strict on it and we're aware of it. We've just got to find a way to prevent it from happening."
(Jamie Kellner of Canes Country took some photos and has a great gallery of the Semin/ref moment.)
Like Muller mentioned, if a player wears their jersey untucked, skating around, taking contact, ripping a shot, that will cause it to pop up, as seen in Semin's second goal of the night on Wednesday. Look at his jersey when he receives the pass and then after the goal, when his back is turned to the camera:
That back pad isn't exposed before Semin's shot, but is afterward, making it appear to be a tuck. (This goal was 15 minutes before Semin was given the penalty.)
"Players are not permitted to tuck their jersey into their pants in such a manner where the top padding of the pant and/or additional body protection (affixed to the pant or affixed to the Player’s body) is exposed outside the jersey. The back uniform number must not be covered or obstructed in any fashion by protruding pads or other protective padding."
Players will get a warning first from the referee, then a two-minute penalty if caught again. A 10-minute misconduct and game misconduct are in the cards if said player fails to adhere to the officials' warnings.
As the NHL's VP of hockey operations Kris King told Elliotte Friedman, the jersey tuck rule has been in the league's rulebook for almost 50 years, but now it will be strictly enforced.
Semin and his fellow players will have to find ways to ensure they don't have a "tuck" look going on. Will they have to check their jersey every time there's a stoppage in play? Will one of the equipment guys be tasked with looking up and down the bench making sure there's no tucking going on? Will officials cut players some slack knowing an untucker might look tucked thanks to the movement of the jersey?
Either way, players are going to have to find a way to not draw more than a warning as the "puck over the glass" penalty gets competition for silliest foul in the NHL rulebook.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy
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