Pittsburgh center Brandon Sutter became the first player to be penalized under one of this season's new rules when he was called for a delay of game infraction during the first period of the Penguins' game against the New York Rangers on Sunday night.
Under an addition to Rule 76.4, passed for the 2012-13 season, centers are no longer allowed to use their hand to bat the puck while trying to win a faceoff until a third player (from either team) has touched the puck. It's charged as a minor penalty for "delay of game - faceoff violation."
On the faceoff after Penguins defenseman Simon Despres was called for interference at 9:23, Sutter pulled the puck back but used his hand to slide it through his legs and back to a teammate. He was immediately whistled for a minor penalty under the new rule, giving the Rangers a 5-on-3 advantage -- which turned into a power-play goal 40 seconds later when Ryan Callahan banged in a rebound.
Rangers center Brad Richards ran afoul of another new rule late in the second period when he was called for smothering the puck with his hand.
Under Rule 67.2, a player is permitted to catch the puck out of the air, but must immediately place it or knock it down to the ice. If he catches it and skates with it, either to avoid a check or to gain a territorial advantage over his opponent, a minor penalty shall be assessed for closing his hand on the puck. Richards was called for delay of game for smothering the puck under the addition to the rule, which mandates a minor penalty anytime a player places his hand over the puck while it is on the ice in order to conceal it from or prevent an opponent from playing the puck.
Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto was also penalized for slashing the hands of Pittsburgh's Tyler Kennedy 8:03 into the second period as part of the League's increased focus on cutting down on such slashing as a way to slow down offensive players. As the Rangers did on the call against Sutter, the Penguins capitalized on the penalty to Del Zotto when Pascal Dupuis scored 68 seconds later.
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