I love hockey. As I write this, the third round of the playoffs is in full swing and the only thing that isn’t awesome about it is that my team isn’t playing. Sad face emoticon.
As in all sports, there are rules. Sometimes players break those rules and there is a consequence. In hockey, that usually takes the form of a player being sent to the penalty box for a period of time and his team being shorthanded on the ice for the duration of that penalty. It is a pretty significant disadvantage for the team that is down a player, and sometimes it results in a goal against (statistically about 1 in 5 times, but that varies depending on how good the players are). Once in a while, the shorthanded team will score (a much, much lower statistic that I am too lazy to Google at the moment). The outcome of a game can turn on a penalty and a resulting power play goal. Coaches bench players over it. The ‘skate of shame’ back to the player’s bench from the penalty box after a goal is scored during a penalty the player took is one of the most dreaded moments a player can experience. Generally, it is considered a bad idea to take a penalty.