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10 Strange Things We Take for Granted About the NHL

In a sport where fighting is legal it should come as no surprise that the NHL is a breed apart. Sure baseball has the infield fly rule, football has a man whose sole job is to kick a ball through the

In a sport where fighting is legal it should come as no surprise that the NHL is a breed apart. Sure baseball has the infield fly rule, football has a man whose sole job is to kick a ball through the uprights, and basketball players have to dribble the ball to move with it – unless they take their two (or three?) free continuation steps to the basket. None of them trump the unusualness of professional hockey.

How strange is hockey? It’s the only sport where players salute the fans with sticks, the only game where you get punished with a timeout, the only game where you play overtime with less men than you started with. Oh, and if you don’t you win, the game is decided the game with a skills competition (shootout). You get a point for going to overtime and losing! But that’s not even the half of it. Oh no, hockey has all kinds of strangeness. That’s just the beginning.

10 Celebrating by Throwing Stuff on the Ice

9 The Chicago National Anthem

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports Images

8 Multiple Hall of Fames

Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada

The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto. The US Hockey Hall of Fame Museum is located in Eveleth, Minnesota.  One is the national shrine of hockey. The other is the national shrine of American hockey. Confused? So are we. The “official” Hall of Fame is the Toronto one.

American Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minnesota

7 Playoff Beards

6 Unusual Superstitions

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (8) adjusts the tape on the blade of his stick during the first period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Images

5 Goalies

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports Images

4 Post Game Handshakes

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Images

3 The Stanley Cup

2 Not Touching…Anything

1 Fighting

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports Images

It’s not hockey unless there’s fighting! You'll spend five minutes in the sin bin for dropping the gloves. Retaliating for an unnoticed cheap shot will earn you two minutes in the box. High sticking will also get you two minutes, unless there's blood, then it's four. If you're really on your worst behavior you might get a game misconduct – which is a ten minute major and ejection. Everything else seems fair game. In some truly bizarre instances, whole teams and goalies have fought. Somehow through the chaos a game is played and everyone seems ok with it. There are usually no fines or suspensions – because, you know, that’s hockey.

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10 Strange Things We Take for Granted About the NHL