Making Sense of Mike Duco’s Penalty Madness on the Scoresheet

Reader Patrick sent us this query this morning, and it’s interesting enough that we thought we’d share it with all OFB readers, as well as address it having received some very helpful clarification from the Caps: 

“Last night in the game Duco came off the bench and got the fight. He was penalized 7 minutes, 2 minute minor plus 5 minute major. While that PP is going on, Allen takes the elbowing penalty. So we have a 5 on 3. 

“Morrison scores 15 seconds into the 5 on 3, which was 1 minute 5 seconds into Duco’s first minor penalty.  Did the refs botch it there by letting Allen out of the box? Shouldnt we still have had a 5 on 3 and the remaning 55 seconds of Duco’s first penalty just been gone and 5 minutes remain on his penalty and therefore we should have had another 1 minute 45 seconds of 5 on 3?  I know its a meaningless question now and [Gabby] didnt seem to complain.  But I think this exact situation played out against us within the last two seasons. Thanks for any explanation you can provide on this.  Thanks.”

We’re gonna try to make sense of Mike Duco’s madness as it relates to last night’s scoresheet.

NHL rules stipulate that in a situation like last night’s, when a minor infraction (instigating) accompanies a major (fighting), the major gets served first. Makes sense, doesn’t it, in the context of the spirit of the sanctions? No Panther player should have been returned to the ice earier than 5:01 into the Duco allotment of penalties. But Allen’s minor complicates things a bit.  When he went off at the 3:04 mark of the third (elbowing), less than a minute after the Duco sanctions started, the Caps went on a 5-on-3 power play, but you couldn’t penalize Allen by banishing him to the box for all of Duco’s time before he began serving his time. So his infraction had the effect of nudging down Duco’s in the penal pecking order.

That’s why when BMo scored Allen was returned to the ice, although to many fans at Verizon Center last night as well as some media and Caps’ officials there was some momentary confusion. Reader Patrick — you were hardly alone in your confusion. Anyway, Allen’s being back on the ice then re-inaugrated the enforcement of Duco’s major ahead of his minor.

Bottom line: Duco was a real Do-do, so much so that he had more than a few veteran press heads last night thumbing through the league rulebook.

This entry was posted in Florida Panthers, National Hockey League, NHL Rules, Washington Capitals. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Making Sense of Mike Duco’s Penalty Madness on the Scoresheet

  1. dcsportsfan says:

    I think the overridding rule to consider in cases of non-coincidentaly penalties to the same team is that the player with the least time to serve gets realeased first. in this case, duco still have over 5 minutes to serve at the time of BMo’s goal while Allen had less than 2 minutes left in his penatly. Had Allen taken his penalty after Duco’s major had expired, Duco would have been first out of the box…had he not been cooling his heels in the locker room after losing his mind on the ice.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Here is a nice link that outlines some different penalty scenarios. Specifically check out examples C5 through C9.

  3. Jeremy,

    Thank you for sharing that helpful link.

  4. chris says:

    I don’t think the Refs botched it, even though Allen’s penalty came after Duco’s ( 2 instigating 5 fight 10 misconduct and 10 game) Duco is still just 1 player. When the caps score on the 5-3 Allen is the first to leave since Duco can’t. The only time Allen would stay in the box is if the Panthers were already down 2 because you can’t have less than 3 players on the ice at one time and his penalty would begin as soon as the first penalty expired.

  5. mike says:

    If Mike Duco went to the penalty box for a instigating penalty and a fighting major his 5 minute fighting major matched by the player he fought.So his 2 minute instigator is served by a teammate as soon as the puck drops for the next play. When his other teammate got another penalty his starts right away as well but is not aloud out until the first 2 minute penalty is over and/or the other team scores. Even though mike duco’s 5 minute penalty is not over his 2 minute minor is because the other team has someone in the box serving a 5 minute with him.

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