Wednesday, December 18, 2013

6.10.2.3 Pack destructions as a result of normal gameplay are not to be considered illegal pack destructions and should not be penalized. Skaters still must reform a pack immediately or be subject to out of play penalties (see Section 6.10.6 and Section 6.10.7). Examples of normal gameplay which should not be considered illegal pack destructions include:

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play section. While there is always much discussion about what constitutes illegal destruction of the pack, there are certain actions deemed by the rules to always be considered legal destruction of the pack. Two actions are listed as subrules to this one. Both actions are normal parts of gameplay and if the pack is destroyed by a skater performing either action, there be no penalty issued.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

6.10.2.1.1 The rules do not define pack speed. Illegally destroying the pack penalties shall not be given for gradually deviating from the speed of the pack as established through game play, unless said deviation is sudden, rapid, and marked, leaving the opposing team no opportunity to adjust and maintain a pack.

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play section. This is the rule that determines if a pack destruction is illegal. In other words, these are the criteria for illegal destruction. 6.10.2.1, of which today's rule is a subrule, gives guidelines on which actions may become illegal destruction, while today's rule gives the criteria by which those actions must be judged. After all, even if the destruction of the pack happens intentionally, such as by one team slowing down or speeding, if the action that causes the destruction doesn't meet these criteria, then the destruction is not illegal. There are very specific instructions in this rule. Gradual deviation from the pack speed is not a penalty, unless the deviation is all of the following:

1) Sudden
2) Marked
3) Rapid
4) Leaves the opposing team no opportunity to adjust and maintain a pack

It is absolutely important to note that the action that causes the destruction - not the actual destruction itself - must be ALL of those, not just one or two of them. As I mentioned, it is very important to remember that it is isn't the destruction that must meet those criteria for it to be a penalty, it must be the deviation from the established pack speed that must meet those criteria. After all, anytime there is a pack and then no pack, it happens instantly, at ten feet (or more accurately when a referee determines there to be no pack). So, the mere moment of pack destruction is always going to be sudden. That is why the action which causes a no pack is to be judge by these criteria. For example, if both teams are skating counterclockwise and the foremost blocker from the team in rear does a quick stop, that results in a no pack, then that action has met the criteria for illegal destruction. The stop is sudden (without warning), marked (something able to be seen by refs), rapid (very quick), and leaving the opposing team no opportunity to maintain a pack (because the stop and resulting destruction happens so quickly, and without warning). However, if the foremost blocker from the team in rear stop skating but continues to coast from the established pack speed, then the action which causes the pack destruction will end up being that blocker coasting and the front team skating away. The coast may or may not be sudden (depending on interpretation), it will certainly be marked, but it won't be rapid (a coast, by nature, is slow), and it leaves the opposing team the opportunity to maintain a pack (by slowing down as well). Since this action only meets two of the four criteria, it is not a penalty.

It is also important to note that merely skating clockwise that results in a destruction is NOT always a destruction. Actions made while moving clockwise must be judged against the criteria for illegal destruction just like actions moving counterclockwise, or even actions while not moving at all. So, if the front team is standing still, and the rear team skates backwards slowly, that isn't always destruction. It may be, but it may not be. Similarly, Just because a team in front is skating forwards and the team in rear is standing still doesn't necessarily mean it's always an illegal destruction when the pack is destroyed. If the team in rear is playing passive offense, and their jammer is pushing the opposing team forwards, chances are the action which causes the destruction will be marked and rapid, but will likely not be sudden, and more than likely the team in rear will have the opportunity to adjust and maintain a pack. Their unwillingness to do so doesn't mean they don't have the opportunity. Each scenario must be judged appropriately.

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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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