Monday, December 16, 2013

6.10.2.1 Examples of illegally destroying the pack, or creating a no-pack situation, may include but are not limited to a skater, skaters, or team running away, braking or coasting to drop back more than 10 feet (3 m) behind the opposing team, taking a knee, intentionally falling, or intentionally skating out of bounds in such a manner that the legally defined pack is destroyed.

Today's rule is from the Out Of Play penalties section. This rule is a subrule of 6.10.2. 6.10.2 explains that illegally destroying the pack is the illegal creation of a no-pack situation. This is an interesting phrase, because it make specific mention of illegal destruction of the pack, which means that there must be legal destruction of the pack. What today's rule helps explain is which actions may be considered illegal destruction, so as to not penalize for actions that are legal destruction.

This rule includes "a skater, skaters, or team running away, braking or coasting to drop back more than 10 feet (3 m) behind the opposing team, taking a knee, intentionally falling, or intentionally skating out of bounds in such a manner that the legally defined pack is destroyed" but is very clear that this is not the only ways a pack can be destroyed illegally. These actions help act as guidelines to penalize other actions that destroy the pack that may be illegal. For example, while other rules make it legal for the pack to be destroyed as a result of an opponent being blocked out of bounds, or a skater skating out of bounds as the result of a missed block, there is nothing that specifies whether it is illegal for a skater to push a teammate out of bounds, resulting in the pack being destroyed. Certainly, that is a situation that must be judged per the guidelines of today's rule, along with other rules in the pack destruction portion of section 6.10. If a skater were to push their teammate towards an opponent, and the teammate goes out of bounds, destroying the pack, that would certainly fall under the "result of a missed block" exception. However, if a skater were to push a teammate out of bounds with no opponents reasonably within distance of the pushed teammate, and the pack is destroyed, it could be easily argued that this was a team illegally creating a no-pack situation. Of course, the answer as to whom the penalty is given is something that may be up for debate, however going by the guidelines of who receives the pack destruction penalty in other situations, the penalty would likely be issued to the skater who was pushed out of bounds, as their change in position from in bounds to out of bounds is ultimately what destroyed the pack.

Other actions mentioned in this rule include the word "intentionally". This is important, because the intent of some actions must be judged so as to properly determine if pack destruction is legal or illegal, however it doesn't mean that all intentional destruction is illegal. For example, one of the actions that may result in a no pack situation is "intentionally falling". Almost certainly, if a skater is skating and then falls with no outside force acted upon them (such as being blocked), then when the pack is then destroyed, the action of falling will have likely met the criteria of illegal destruction (which will be covered in an explanation of rule 6.10.2.1.1 tomorrow), and will result in a major penalty. However, if a team is intentionally slowing down gradually enough such that the pack is destroyed but does NOT meet the criteria for illegal destruction in 6.10.2.1.1, then the action will not result in a penalty, regardless of the intent to destroy the pack.

Finally, it is vitally important to understand that this rule says that illegal destruction MAY include the actions listed, but that means it also may not. A team running away from another team may result in illegal destruction, but it also may not, and each situation must be judges by the criteria of illegal destruction, not just penalized because it is listed in this rule. The same goes for teams braking or coasting to drop back more than 10 feet behind the opposing team. There are situations where braking or coasting may result in an illegal destruction penalty, and there are other situations where braking or coasting may destroy the pack but not result in a penalty. Again, these actions are only guidelines, and not to be penalized every time they happen simply because they are listed here.

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