On The NHL Tuck Rule And How Ridiculous It Is


The NHL has made some ridiculous rules over the years, but most have been done with the games best interest at heart, even if they didn’t work out that way.

For instance, the goaltender’s trapezoid is one rule that can go the way of the dodo any time now, as can the automatic puck over glass rule and the centre playing the puck with his glove on a faceoff.

But a new rule instituted this season, and could be referred to as the Alex Ovechkin rule, is that a player can no longer tuck their jersey into their pants.

May 2, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing

Alex Ovechkin

(8) shoots the puck on New York Rangers goalie

Henrik Lundqvist

(30) in the first period of game one of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Now I have a few thoughts on this rule, one that when I heard of it, though it would be one of those ones that were in the rule book but rarely, if ever, called.  You know, like instigating or checking to the head.  But then last night Alex Semin became the first victim of the rule, as he was whistled for a wardrobe malfunction and given 2 minutes for delay of game.

  • Did all of the league commissioners get together in their secret commissioner meeting place and decide that at least one league has to have a “tuck rule” at all times?  The NFL decided to get rid of their controvertial “tuck rule”, that made a phantom appearance during a playoff game, this off-season.  So someone had to step up and put their own version of a tuck rule, and the others looked at Gary Bettman and said, “Gary will do it, Gary will do anything”.  And so it is.
  • Players will now have to not only tie their jersey down to avoid it coming off in a fight, but are they going to have to invent some kind of tie that will keep it on the outside of their pants as well.  Pretty soon players are not only going to be wearing enough armour to be called Robocop, but their uniform is going to be so tight from being tied that they will be moving around the ice like Robocop as well.
  • And what about the Nathan Gerbes and Danny Brieres of the world.  Teams are going to have to start ordering special uniforms for them, because normal NHL jerseys will be down to their knees, like timbit players.
  • And god forbid someone wants to pay tribute to the greatest player of all time, Wayne Gretzky, who basically invented the jersey tuck by sticking one corner of his uniform into his pants because he did it as a minor hockey player for that exact reason, the shirts were too big.
  • So lets get this straight – the penalty for taking a run at a player from across the ice and elbowing him in the head, if there is no sign of injury, is the same as committing the fashion faux-pas of having your jersey inside your pants.
  • Imagine the next referee who has to make a call – “Pittsburgh penalty to #24, 2 minutes for taking his skate off and trying to stab somebody, Ottawa penalty to #65, 2 minutes for tucking his jersey inside his pants.”

Great idea NHL – lets fix what isn’t broken and forget about all the head injuries that happen on a daily basis from flagrant predatory and careless plays, and make up yet another asinine rule that will embarrass officials to have to call.

Sometimes a league is successful in spite of itself.  The NHL is one of those, over and over again.

And as for Ovechkin, this was his reaction when he found out about the new rule..

May 13, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing

Alex Ovechkin

(8) and Capitals center

Mike Ribeiro

(9) sit on the bench during a stoppage in play against the New York Rangers in the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports