It was interesting to see the New York Rangers get all bent out of shape when Ottawa Senator Jarkko Ruutu fired the puck at goalie Henrik Lundqvist from a bad angle after initially losing control of it on a shootout attempt last night.
The Rangers were so incensed at what seemed like Ruutu being Ruutu that a few of them even tried to get at the abrasive Finn when the shootout was complete and they had to be restrained by the on-ice officials.
Well, guess what?
If Ruutu had scored on that bad-angle and seemingly late shootout shot, it would have counted.
According to NHL rule 25.2 on penalty shots, or shootouts if you will, that was still a live puck and Ruutu was within his rights to shoot it at Lundqvist.
"The original loss of the puck was not on a shot,” NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkon told TSN. "Therefore, the puck is live until it comes to a complete stop or the puck completely crosses the goal line."
Sure enough, in this case, the puck was still moving when Ruutu got to it and it had not crossed the goal line. The play was alive even though most of us, including the Rangers, thought it was dead.
Now, if Ruutu had tried to corral that puck on his stick and take it back towards the net for another try, there is reason to believe he may have violated the part of the rule where a player must maintain forward progress on the penalty shot/shootout attempt, but even that has become a bit of a gray area with some inventive shootout techniques and imaginative moves by the players.
But make no mistake, the shot he took was a valid shot and had he scored on it, it would have counted.