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The Official Site of the San Jose Sharks

Monday Mailbag - 1/23/2012

by Alex Aragon / San Jose Sharks

You may not have asked for it, but you're getting it anyway. Here is The Daily Chomp's debut of the Monday Mailbag. If you have questions, tweet @SanJoseSharks using #AskSJS, sends us a question on Facebook, or email us on the Tip Line. This week we look at some of the basics of hockey and answer some of your lingering questions.

Q: At the end of OT, can players be called for penalties, and if so, are they sent to the box for the shootout? I was watching tonight's broadcast and thought I heard the arena announcer citing penalties but the broadcasters didn't mention anything. There was a big scuffle involving (Marc-Edouard) Vlasic and a Flame and I believe (Justin) Braun.
- Peter M.

TDC: As overtime came to an end during last Tuesday night's game between the Sharks and the Flames, San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Calgary forward Mike Cammalleri came to blows and each earned roughing minors as time expired. Imagine the confusion of some fans when Cammalleri was one of Flames shooters to face Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi in the shootout just moments later.

Was Cammalleri eligible for the shootout since he took a penalty at the end of overtime? According to NHL Rule 84.4:

Three (3) players from each team shall participate in the shootout and they shall proceed in such order as the Coach selects. All players are eligible to participate in the shootout unless they are serving a ten-minute misconduct or have been assessed a game misconduct or match penalty.

Sharks fans may remember back to the 2005-06 season when, in just the fourth shootout in Sharks franchise history, Oilers forward Ryan Smyth scored the shootout-determining goal after taking a holding penalty as overtime expired.

Understandably, some fans feel that a player that is penalized at the end of overtime should be disqualified from participating in the shootout. However, if the League were to make that a rule, you have to consider the unintended consequences of enforcing that rule.

Some teams could adopt a strategy of sending enforcer-type players after star players on the opposing team in an attempt to preemptively disqualify them from an impending shootout. In this case, even had Vlasic and Cammalleri engaged in a fight as time expired, both would have still been eligible to participate in the shootout.

Q: When two players get called for a penalty, what determines whether it's a coincidental or a 4-on-4? I have yet to figure out the rules on that.
- Deanna M.

TDC: When two players on opposing teams each get called for an equal number of minor penalties on the same stoppage of play, it doesn't matter if the penalties were coincidental or not. If the teams were at full-strength (5-on-5 in regulation, 4-on-4 in regular season OT) when the stoppage of play occurred, each team sends a player to the box to serve the two-minute minors and both teams take a skater off the ice.

This clear cut situation get cloudy very quickly when you start introducing variables like major penalties, multiple players on both teams penalized on the same stoppage, unequal number of penalties assessed, but that's a discussion for another mailbag.

Q: How come the goalies never wear the same socks as the rest of the team? I have noticed this for years and most of our keepers don't wear the same.
- Jason P.


TDC: Up until a few years ago, most goaltenders did wear the same socks as the rest of the skaters on their team. The biggest change to this came when the Reebok Edge uniform system was introduced prior to the 2007-08 season.

One of the many changes to the traditional NHL uniform involved the player socks. Previously, the socks had been made of a knit material, but the Edge system updated the socks to moisture-wicking fabric that more closely reflected the jersey material.

With the new material and the extra seams sewn into the updated socks, goaltenders would have had issues with the socks bunching up and catching on the straps of their leg pads, so most of them continue to wear the regular knit player socks in a non-descript color like black (or in Antti Niemi's case, white).

Q: Hockey equipment is easier to move when it is broken in. Do Sharks players keep the same equipment as their own, do they use brand new equipment every game, or does it vary based on the type?
- Jordan G.

TDC: The easiest answer is, it definitely depends on the type of equipment. Obviously it stands to reason that the newest piece of equipment the players use on a regular basis is their sticks. They meticulously prepare their sticks on practice days and before morning skates to be ready for all situations. It varies based on personal preference, but each player preps no fewer than three sticks for game usage.

Other pieces of equipment have a much longer shelf life, specifically shoulder pads. Shoulder pads are one of those rare pieces of equipment that players will wear for multiple seasons, taking them along when they're traded between teams or when they sign with a different club. When the NHL updated its equipment rules a few seasons ago banning hard plastic caps on shoulder pads in favor of a softer firm foam padding, rather than get new shoulder pads that were compliant, many players just had their existing shoulder pads updated.

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