SLASHING. Hitting with the stick, usually in a fit of temper and in retaliation. Half the time the stick does not even make contact, but there was "intent to injure" and so a penalty.
INTERFERENCE. Hindering a man not in possession of the puck. Another stupid maneuver, gaining nothing for the offender. And a player easily can get hurt, not expecting to be hit. Interference is often permitted close into the net, though, where defensemen and attacking players try to occupy the same piece of ice.
CHARGING. Also stupid. Called when a player makes a body check that is not a normal outgrowth of the action but one that requires three or four deliberate strides toward the victim.
SPEARING. The most vicious of all transgressions. As the term implies, darting the blade of the stick at an opponent. This can cause serious injury, and now there is an automatic $25 fine and a five-minute penalty.
ELBOWING. Generally called only on the bigger players who are trying to maneuver around and—maybe inadvertently, maybe intentionally—hit another player with a padded elbow.
HIGH-STICKING. Carrying the stick above shoulder level.
CROSS-CHECKING. Holding your stick at each end and ramming it at a player.
There are scores of hockey rules, but two of them are far and away the most important in controlling the shape of the action. The first of these says you can pass the puck across only one line at a time, meaning the blue lines that set off the attacking zones and the center red line. Violate this rule and you risk losing control of the puck in the face-off that will be called.
The second major rule says you can not enter the attacking zone—that area beyond the blue line nearest the opposing goaltender—until the puck has crossed that line. A skater, however, may straddle the blue line, but as soon as both of his skates go past it the puck must be in the attacking zone also or a face-off is called.
This is hockey's most elementary rule and the one most frequently violated, causing fans and coaches to cringe when a scoring threat is killed because a player has preceded the puck over the line. You should be aware, however, that at times teams risk the offside call in order to attempt split-second coordination of an attacking play. We want our Canadiens to be going at top speed when they approach the blue line, and if for some reason the player handling the puck is checked or otherwise delayed by the defense, then quite frequently a wingman will cross the blue line too soon and be off side.