London Knights adapting to Memorial Cup rules

London Knights Chris Tierney, Scott Harrington and Anthony Stolarz, after the Portland Winterhawks...

London Knights Chris Tierney, Scott Harrington and Anthony Stolarz, after the Portland Winterhawks scored their 4th goal, during the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Monday May 20, 2013. Al Charest/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:23 PM ET

Seth Jones skated to the penalty box Monday night after high-sticking Seth Griffith in the helmet.

Portland's potential NHL No. 1 pick saw the London Knights sniper heading for the sin bin, too.

“I asked him, 'What are you doing here,'” Jones said after the Winterhawks' 6-3 win over the OHL champs, “and he said, 'I don't have any idea.'”

Griffith was called for embellishing the high stick.

“The ref said he saw contact to my chest so he thought I tried to draw a penalty there but he (Jones) got me in the visor, I thought,” Griffith said. “We had a good laugh in the box, at least.”

No one with London was laughing when Ryan Rupert was called for closing his hand on the puck in the third period and Portland scored the game-winner on the ensuing power play.

This Cup is played with Western Hockey League rules and there are a few quirks unique of the rules the Knights follow all season.

In the OHL, Rupert's play would've been legal. But in the WHL, you can't cover the puck with your hand, which is consistent with NHL rules.

The Knights also had to revisit faceoff rules. In the WHL, like the NHL, a centreman cannot reach down and bat the puck back with his glove.

When London beat Saskatoon, Max Domi iced the puck trying to score on an empty net in a one-goal game. The Knights weren't allowed to change, but if he was judged to be in the neutral zone, they could've sent out Bo Horvat to take the draw.

The Memorial Cup features referees from all three leagues under the Canadian Hockey League umbrella. They have to go over the rules, too.

“It must be hard for the refs,” Griffith said. “With Domi the other night trying to hit the empty net, they said he wasn't over the blue (line) and we thought he was, but we couldn't change,” Griffith said. “The Rupert play, we would've got away with that in our league. You'd think (all three leagues would be the same) but it's something we've got to deal with. It's not like it's crazy, crazy rule changes. It's just stuff we've got to look out for.”

Is it time all three leagues went to uniform NHL-style rules of game play? London head coach Dale Hunter isn't sure.

“You're going to forget sometimes (at the Cup), but that's hockey,” he said. “We should've killed it (the Rupert penalty) off.”

Portland head coach Travis Green knew Rupert had committed an infraction right away.

“I don't think it's that big a deal,” he said. “There's a couple little rule changes. They haven't affected us so far. Obviously, (Monday), there was one. I didn't even know it was a rule change, to be honest, until after the game. It's just one of those things you have to deal with.

“I try not to over-think things I don't have control of anyway.”

London captain Scott Harrington saw the biggest injustice to be the unsportsmanlike penalty to Griffith, which negated a man advantage. He scored the Knights' first goal in their comeback from down 3-0 and gave the officials a piece of his mind.

“I was more frustrated that we didn't have a power play,” he said. “I think I was more yelling at the ref afterwards. I was mad because Seth got an embellishing call, that was ridiculous and it felt good to get the ball rolling.”

Until the Rupert penalty, they had the ice tilted in their favour.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/RyanatLFPress

 

 


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