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Penguins' Sutter knew rule, knows he goofed

| Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, 7:50 p.m.
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Penguins center Brandon Sutter carries the puck against the New York Rangers on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Brandon Sutter screwed up Sunday.

He was aware of the new NHL rule that forbids centers from using a hand to help win a faceoff.

“We went over it the other day,” Sutter said. “We had talked about it. But it's instinct, and in the moment you're trying to win the draw, and I just reacted. I have to watch that.

“It was totally my bad.”

A new rule for this season, passed before the 119-day NHL lockout began in September, does not allow centers to bat the puck with a hand or hands while trying to win a faceoff until a third player touches the puck.

A player in violation of the Rule 76.4 is issued a minor penalty for “delay of game — faceoff violation.”

Sutter, who is from one of the NHL's most famous families, made more history Sunday at Madison Square Garden by becoming the first player to violate this rule.

At least it happened in a Penguins' victory.

With Penguins defenseman Simon Despres serving a minor penalty for interference, Sutter was tasked a defensive-zone faceoff at 9:23 of the first period. Sutter pulled back the puck and, with his hand, slid it through his legs, seemingly scoring a victory.

Play was immediately called dead, and an on-ice official called a penalty — and sent Sutter to the sin bin.

The Penguins were suddenly down by two players, and 40 seconds later Rangers captain Ryan Callahan scored on the 5-on-3 advantage.

Sutter shook his head in disbelief as Despres left the penalty box.

So, too, did many fans in attendance.

That was not the case on the Penguins' bench, where coach Dan Bylsma knew a foul had been committed.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero also had no problem with the call. Shero was on the committee that suggested the rule change last spring.

“It was a penalty,” he said. “Brandon knows it was a penalty. We talked to the players about the new rules.”

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter: @RobRossi_Trib.

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