The Penalty Box: Staying Out of the Sin Bin

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Being sent to the penalty box and the other team scores is humiliating. Here’s how to avoid it.

By Warren Tabachnick

Whether you’re a hockey fan or not, everyone has heard the term “the penalty box.” Tales of hockey’s greats being ordered to the box is the stuff of legends. But if you’re a hockey player, there is no worse place than that.

Nine times out of 10, any hockey player who is sent to the sin bin will disagree with the penalty call. And the fact that there was an infraction against the rules bothers the offender in the least. If you’re handed a penalty, what troubles you most is that your team is now down a player for two minutes (or more) because of what you did.

Needless to say, it places your team in a vulnerable position. If you’re ever experienced the misfortune of being sent to the penalty box and the other team scores as a result, it’s a humiliating experience, not to mention a major letdown for your team.

How to Stay Out of the Penalty Box

If you’re like most hockey players you do not want to get a penalty, and there are a few things you must understand. (In contrast to placing the right bets on JackpotCity online casino, winning is not equated with being in the penalty box.) Unless you happen to be a repeat offender, refs do not set their sights on individual players; they usually only look for actions that stand out. For example, tripping somebody is more noticeable than lifting somebody’s stick, and giving an opponent a shove is less noticeable than shoving somebody into the boards.

The point here is that in a game, you must do things that do not cause you to stand out. And what’s interesting is that the majority of these tricks are not even illegal.

Keep Calm and Stay Disciplined

Another thing that will keep you out of the box is discipline: You have to be able to take the minor infraction against you without retaliating. More often than not, it’s the payback that the referee notices.

When you are disciplined you are in control; you are able to get under the skin of the other team which causes them to lose their cool. No doubt this will result in them taking more penalties, while giving your team more chances to score and ultimately win the game.

Above all else, remember that you must stay calm and focused. Hockey is fast and physical, and typically there will be many cheap shots in a game and a few of them might not get called. So it’s up to you to spend your time wisely—out of the box and on the ice where you can be more effective.

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