As the Capitals and Devils dropped the puck to the excitement of the fans at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, the vibe of excitement quickly changed with the whistles coming from those in the zebra stripes on the ice. There weren’t any costly or controversial calls like the final game of the 2016-17 season had, but there was just simply too many penalties.
In total, 20 penalties were called, including 11 in the opening period in the Capitals’ 4-1 loss to the Devils. And it drove both fans and journalists insane.
More penalties. Because people love the preseason so much, constant penalties are just icing on the cake.
— JJ Regan (@JJReganCSN) September 18, 2017
If the penalty rate keeps continues into the regular season, the Capitals are on pace for 1,722 minor penalties in total.
— Tommy Chalk (@Tommy_Chalk) September 18, 2017
fans shouldn’t pay for NHL preseason games w/referees making experimental penalty calls, refs should’ve attended training camps #thisisawful
— Alan May (@MayHockeyCSN) September 19, 2017
If one is looking for referee bias, they certainly watched the wrong game. Both teams finished with 10 penalties apiece. The Devils committed all four penalties called in the third period, while Lars Eller and Chandler Stephenson each visited the sin bin twice for the Capitals.
One of the most notable penalties that is new this season is the faceoff violation. 41 seconds into the game, Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky was the first victim of this call. There were a total of three in the game.
Here’s an explanation of the Faceoff from Rule 76:
There will be a stricter enforcement of the faceoff procedure – especially with respect to the markings inside the faceoff circle. Under section 76.4, the players will be instructed to set, so they will stand squarely facing their opponents’ end of the rink, and clear of the ice markings (where applicable). The defensive player will be instructed to set (skates and stick) then, the offensive player will be instructed to set (skates and stick).
The Capitals will look to have a much cleaner game on Wednesday night in Montreal.
By Michael Marzzacco