Rule 9.5 (or why the NHL wants to treat its stars like children)


Jun 24, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins center

Patrice Bergeron

(37) warms up before game six of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Is it just me or has the NHL suddenly gotten rules hungry? Last time I checked, most of us still had a little ire over the league’s desire to host yet another lockout last season. Now, in a continuing effort to annoy the players and the fans, they decided to throw a few new rules in to the mix (and in this case, enforce a rule that has been on the books for half a century.)

So, here’s Rule 9.5:

Players are not permitted to tuck their jersey into their pants in such a manner where the top padding of the pant and/or additional body protection (affixed to the pant or affixed to the Player’s body) is exposed outside the jersey. The back uniform number must not be covered or obstructed in any fashion by protruding pads or other protective padding.

Players are already chiming in on the subject. Those players are less than amused. Joffrey Lupul went on Twitter to pose the question on when the NHL is going to tell Jaromir Jagr to untuck his sweater. (He’s retiring after this season, give the living legend a freakin’ break.)

Another gold star moment has to come from Alex Ovechkin. Earlier in the week he told the Capitals’ Insider his thoughts on the subject. (I swear this quote is correct. The broken grammar is not the fault of the editorial staff here.) He’s certainly not happy with it, but I can’t see him putting his team down a man for two minutes over it.

“I’m the guy who love that kind of stuff. I’m kind of upset about it, but most important thing, nobody talk to us, the players. They think it can be dangerous for somebody. I think it’s kind of stupid,” Ovechkin said Sunday. “My gear is not stay [near] my body so jersey always goes in. If I’m going to put jersey normally, I’m going to skate and it goes back.”

Ovechkin’s coach, and former Boston Bruins Adam Oates is as equally displeased. It’s a rule. Do I like it? Well, no,” said Oates. “I know when Gretzky had his shirt velcroed in. It was part of his identity. Superstars have identities, that’s why they’re superstars. It’s part of their makeup and their personality. It’s why they transcend the game, it’s why we advertise them, but I understand part of it. I understand the sleeve rule[9.3], for sure. That makes sense to me, but taking a guy’s individuality away is tough.”

Personally, I’d love to get Patrice Bergeron’s thoughts on the matter. He’s a ‘tucker’, and has done it for the last few seasons. Hopefully the league has some method to their madness here and are not on another hell bent tear in order to cause more strife between the NHL and the players union.