Common Hockey Misconceptions: Odds and Ends

This is the fourth in a series of short explanations of common misconceptions about hockey and the NHL. Check the blog for the previous editions on offer sheets, one-way vs. two-way contracts, and waiver rules. Please follow for future updates on all sorts of topics.

This one is just a few odds and ends that didn’t fit in the other categories.


Misconception One: Instigator Penalties Include an Optional Misconduct. This is a misconception that I most often hear spouted by play-by-play on television. When a player receives an instigator penalty, I often hear someone say something along the lines of “and the referee has decided to tack on the additional ten-minute misconduct.” No matter how old the instigator rule gets, this mistake continues to be made. The instigator penalty always consists of a two-minute minor and a ten-minute misconduct, in addition to the original five-minute fighting major. That’s what makes it so humourous/frustrating to hear someone on TV suggest that the calling of a misconduct means the player did something especially bad.

Look in the archives of my blog for my thoughts on the instigator rule itself. Spoiler alert: I hate it.


Misconception Two: Too Many Men Minors Need to Be Served By Someone On The Ice at the Time of the Infraction. Admittedly, this is one that I believed in myself, and it took a read through the NHL rule book to find the truth. I think many minor hockey leagues play with this rule, but the NHL doesn’t. According to the rule book, a Too Many Men penalty is just a bench minor, which can be served by anyone (except the goaltenders).


Misconception Three: Players on Long-Term Injury Reserve Don’t Count Against the Cap.  This one is a bit weird and technical, but important. When a player is on LTIR, their team is still responsible for their full cap hit. They are, however, allowed a temporary extension on their cap equal to that player’s cap hit, until they return from LTIR. Same thing, right? Not quite.

This allows teams to replace injured players, but it prevents teams from “accruing” cap while players are injured. It also makes it harder to get an equally-salaried replacement, as the injured player’s cap space needs to be available as soon as they get off LTIR. This is why we’ve seen some teams make questionable moves around the playoffs, where their players seem to linger on LTIR right until the end of the regular season, then return early in the playoffs where there is no cap.


This site:

provides a great breakdown of the whole process. It includes this summary:

  • “In order to qualify for the LTIR, a player must be deemed to be unavailable for 24 days and 10 NHL games after the time of injury.
  • A team is allowed to exceed the salary cap Upper Limit by x amount after applying this formula: The cap hit of the injured player on LTIR minusthe amount of salary cap space equals the amount that team can exceed the upper limit by.
  • And most importantly, a player on LTIR does not generate any extra cap room for the team. He does not come off the books, and will be factored into the calculations of the year-end salary cap of the team.”

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