A player who receives a misconduct penalty is removed from the rink for ten minutes. The offending side, on the other hand, does not play short-handed since the player may be replaced by another player. After 10 minutes, the penalty player may resume the game. If the player remains in the penalty box for five minutes, then he or she will be ejected from the game.
In addition to removing a player from the game, referees can also issue minor penalties, such as charging a player at least two yards away from the puck or kicking a ball out of bounds. More serious violations result in disqualification or suspension. A player who receives three major penalties in one season is automatically suspended for the next game.
Penalties are usually given for illegal checks to the head or face, fighting (minor penalty) or for excessive body checking (major). However, any action that causes injury to an opponent can and will result in a penalty. For example, throwing your stick on the ice in retaliation for being hit with it; hitting a player with an elbow or knee; and spearing a player with a skate all result in penalties.
Illegal actions such as these can cause serious injuries that may lead to a player's removal from the game. In fact, several players have been killed during NHL games because of severe head injuries caused by illegal checks to the head.
Regardless of when the penalty is delivered during the game, the player is punished with ten penalty minutes (twenty in the IIHF regulations) for game misconduct for statistical reasons. This regulation applies to match penalties as well (see below). If a player is penalized twice for the same offense, he will be assessed twenty penalty minutes for the game.
In addition, players are suspended for five games for automatic disqualifications and two games for major penalties. Disqualified players cannot play in any further games of the season or tournament, regardless of what team they were on before the disqualification. Major penalties include interference to the head of an opponent while playing the body, checking from behind while playing the body, charging/line-charging, fighting in the opposing team's zone without using your arms, and verbal abuse of officials.
There have been nine game misconducts in the history of the NHL, the most recent being February 5, 2018 when Toronto Maple Leafs forward Patrick Marleau was given a game misconduct for high sticking New Jersey Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas. The previous eight occurrences occurred between 2001 and 2017. In that time span, six players have been given a game misconduct three times and two players were penalized with ten minutes for repeated offenses.
(a) A "MISCONDUCT" penalty requires the removal of a player, other than a goaltender, from the game for ten minutes, with prompt substitution on the ice. A player whose misbehavior punishment has expired must stay on the penalty bench until the next time the game is stopped. The same player cannot be penalized again for the same incident during the same game.
A game misconduct may result in further penalties, including suspension from play. The NHL Department of Player Safety will review all misconduct cases after the fact to determine if further action is needed. Misconduct does not carry over from one game to the next.
There have been reports that Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty was given a five-game suspension by the National Hockey League for hitting Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara from behind into the boards behind the net at 18:50 of the first period of their game on November 1, 2013. However, no such decision has yet been made public by the league.
It's possible that the NHL could announce the suspension after it takes place on January 3 when they release the regular season schedule. If this were the case, then Pacioretty would be able to play in Montreal's next game against the New York Islanders.
The NHL also has the option of issuing an additional minor penalty or two-minute minor penalty to either team for each game that misconduct penalties are handed out.