I swear, Peter Laviolette has melons where most men have balls.
The Lightning play a 1-3-1 trap, with all five skaters positioned almost in-between the two blue lines. So how did the Flyers approach it during the first minute of the game? Stall… video game style– just hold the puck.
The Lightning played it like a weird glitch in a 16-bit hockey game in which the forecheck doesn’t enter the offensive zone unless defensive pressure is maxed out.
Anyway, after 30 seconds, officials whistled the play dead and shifted the faceoff into the Flyers’ zone. This isn’t an entirely new strategy, however– the Flyers tried it last year, as well. And, according to the Versus-soon-to-be-NBC-sports-Rock-Center-Mondays-at-10! broadcast crew, it was a tactic employed by the Capitals in the playoffs last year. Still, the officials didn’t like it, and they liked it even less when the Flyers tried it again two minutes later… and for the rest of the first period (albeit with added movement).
No penalties were called, but it seems the threat is there.
Rule 63.1 begins:
63.1 Delaying the Game – A player or a team may be penalized when, in the opinion of the Referee, is delaying the game in any manner.
It goes on to list several situations, none of which specifically detail this sort of thing, but that first part serves as a catch-all for officials to hide behind. They told coaches that the puck had to stay in motion.
*If we’re using that logic, and Ryan Madson winds up getting $44 million, I’d expect him to turn into a human rain delay next season. Not good.