Fantasy Hockey rewards penalty minutes?

One of the reasons why the professional sport leagues have embraced fantasy sports is that it draws more fans into the sport. That is what happened when I started to play fantasy hockey this year. I've never really watched hockey and only followed it through the news when someone wins the Stanley Cup. The extent of my knowledge is that I know that Lord Stanley's Cup gets passed around and winners like to bath their newborn babies in it. So this year, I joined a random ESPN roto league with a friend who does follow hockey to try it out.

I did no research before the draft and I figure I would let the default ranking guide my way.  So I had the 5th overall pick and got F John Tavares  and picked up goalie  Casey Price  with my second pick.

After the draft, I started to research the game to see how I should setup my team and who to look for on the waiver. I was still determined to win this league and still expected to do well. To my surprise, I didn't quite understand the category called PIM. I asked my hockey friend in the league with me: "What is this stat?" Which he replied :"Penalty minutes." My original thought was they penalize players for receiving penalty minutes.  "Au contraire," my friend replied. You get points if they log penalty minutes.

I paused for a moment and had to think about that. When do sports award for penalties and why are we doing it in fantasy? Is it because there are not that many categories to track in hockey and they have to fill it in with time in the penalty box?  I've never played fantasy football that awarded points for penalty flags on players. In addition, basketball has no points for fouls in standard leagues. This seemed just foreign to me. So I pressed my friend further for why.  He replied that hockey is different and that there are "enforcers" whose roles is strictly to dish it out for the team. I suppose I get it.

However, is there still something wrong with the game when the sport itself is trying to promote penalties? It isn't as if the penalty minutes have no value. Teams that are punished are a man down against the other team. Practically every other stat in fantasy sport is based on something positive. For example, yards, touchdowns, field goals made, rebounds, home runs, hits and goals are counted as positive score. Things like fumbles, interceptions, errors, field goals missed and free throws missed are counted as negative.

This is going to be an interesting experience learning about hockey by coming into to from fantasy hockey.