In the 2009-2010 season, there were 12328 penalties called, which works out to about 10 per game (as there are 1230 games in each regular season).
The breakdown by period is:
- First period: 4062
- Second period: 4420
- Third period: 3745
- Overtime: 101
So, right off the bat, it looks as though the "they put away the whistles in the third" idea has some merit. We'll take a closer look at that later in the this post, and later in the series when we look at individual referee data.
The top 10 penalties called in 2009-2010 were:
Some notables that are missing from the top 10 include: Delay of game (puck over glass), Too many men, Goaltender interference, Holding the stick and the bloody version of Hi-sticking.
All told, there were 50 distinct types of penalties called in 2009-2010 (I was surprised how many different ones there were). Here are a few that were almost never called:
- Spearing was called 3 times, and one additional time as a double minor.
- Abusive Language - Bench was called twice
- Just one Illegal Stick penalty, on Brett Carson of the Hurricanes at 18:41 of the third period in a 5-1 blowout over the Rangers. Not sure the point of that one was...
Now let's take a look at the most commonly called penalties, broken out by period (I combined both the regular and double minor versions of Hi-sticking):
|Delaying Game-Puck over glass||91||94||106||1||292|
|Holding the stick||54||67||42||163|
|Interference on goalkeeper||67||85||79||2||233|
|Too many men/ice - bench||74||104||60||3||241|
We already saw previously that calls from the second period to the third period dropped from 4420 to 3745, a 15% drop. Most of these are judgement calls on the part of the refs. You can see they are pretty consistent on many of them - Roughing, Too many men, Boarding, Cross checking, Hi-sticking, Slashing, etc.
Take a second look at three calls that have a definitive impact on the speed and flow of the game - here they are with the drop from the second to the third period:
- Hooking - dropped by 27%
- Interference - dropped by 27%
- Tripping - dropped by 22%
I'm willing to let Tripping drop - it's essentially flat with the first period, so I could argue that the long change has something to do with that.
Hooking and Interference calls, however are way down from the first period numbers too. You can't tell me that it's not happening as much in the third period - I don't buy it. I think the refs are exercising their "judgement" (such as it is) instead of calling what they see on these penalties.
Any thoughts on the analysis?