Referees try to sort out a fight between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on October 12, 2013. Photo Credit: Tasha N. Meares

What is the difference between a ‘necessary’ and ‘unnecessary’ penalty?

One of the things that has plagued the Tampa Bay Lightning through the years is the amount of penalties that they seem to acquire. Some of those penalties have been in the name of the “greater good”; however, some of them have been completely avoidable. What is the difference between a ‘necessary’ and ‘unnecessary’ penalty?

I’m sure the debate over this topic is not going to end anytime soon. Everyone, including myself, has an opinion of what is necessary and what is not. This is mostly based on the heat of the moment.

Something that I will most definitely put in the necessary column is the defense of one of our star players.

When someone comes charging at a player like Steven Stamkos, the absolute last thing we need is Stamkos punching him in the face, fracturing his hand, and missing 3-6 weeks while he heals. However, on the flip side, we can’t have him stand there and get beat on like a rag doll, hence opening the door for a different type of injury.

This is where the necessity comes in. This is where someone like Radko Gudas, B.J. Crombeen, or Pierre-Cedric Labrie comes in. These are guys who are highly skilled in the art of rough and tumble and can get in between an opponent and someone like a Steven Stamkos or a Martin St. Louis.

I am by no means saying that these two are the only ones who deserve defense. I am just simply using them as two of the most obvious examples.

Another penalty that I would deem ‘necessary’ is that tripping penalty being assessed when an opposing player is charging the net when the defender has absolutely no hope of getting in front of the play and blocking the shot. Is it ‘right’? Probably not. Is it effective? Most definitely.

I think what is even more clear is what an ‘unnecessary’ penalty is.

An ‘unnecessary’ penalty is something that is either one hundred percent avoidable and serves absolutely no purpose, or a penalty that comes at the absolute worst time.

A perfect example of this is the Tripping Penalty assessed by Richard Panik in the final seconds of the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 12th. The Lightning were dealt their second loss of the season when Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen was able to score on the subsequent power play, giving the Lightning no time to get back on top.

The difference between the necessary and unnecessary will continue to play a factor in the ongoing success of our boys in blue.

What do you think the difference is between the ‘necessary’ and ‘unnecessary’? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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