Fraser: The charging call on New York's Carl Hagelin

Kerry Fraser
12/14/2011 3:01:54 PM
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For the love of holy hockey - I dare you to explain the charging call against Carl Hagelin at 12:37 in the first of the Stars-Rangers game.

The goalie charged out, Hagelin touched the puck first and had nowhere else to go!

I'm BAFFLED and seething, obviously.


Sean: While I can't say that I'm "baffled" by the charging penalty called against Carl Hagelin for his contact on Stars goalie Richard Bachman, I suggest you and I both need to take a deep breath and offer up a prayer for our love of holy hockey.

In my opinion, the penalty call (video link) was an overreaction from a League directive issued to the referees following the body check Milan Lucic delivered on Ryan Miller. This combined with a less than optimum position established by the referee to produce an error in judgment on the play. 

It's no secret that the referees have been placed on high alert with regard to protecting the goalkeeper.  I think most of us agree there should never be "open season on goalkeepers" as Lindy Ruff once suggested was the case.

I believe that all deliberate or unnecessary contact on the goalkeeper, either inside or outside of their goal crease, should be penalized appropriately under Rule 69 - interference on the goalkeeper or Rule 42 - charging, so long as goalkeeper embellishment and retaliation is also penalized when it happens.

An important component of the spirit and language of both of these rules was lost when Carl Hagelin wasn't credited for throwing on the brakes and attempted to avoid the goalkeeper; "Incidental contact, at the discretion of the Referee, will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact."

This was a three way race, from start to finish, for a loose puck well outside the goal crease between Stars goalkeeper Richard Bachman, defenceman Alex Goligoski and the Rangers speedster Carl Hagelin. There was no deliberate or even unnecessary contact with Bachman. Contact with Bachman by both his own player, Goligoski and Hagelin was unavoidable and a byproduct of the race finish line.

Some form of contact was inevitable given the simultaneous convergence on the puck. At this point all three players ran out of real estate. Carl Hagelin was the only player that made at least some effort to minimize or avoid impact by throwing on the breaks and turning his back to pull up. This action constitutes "a reasonable effort to avoid such contact" as stated in the rule.

There is one final point that I wish to make and that involves the position from which the referee viewed the play.  When televising a hockey game the producer/director will offer the best camera "angle" to adequately capture a play. Sometimes it even takes three or four different camera angles to provide you with the best, most accurate view of a play.

The referee and linesmen only have one camera angle from which to make a decision.  That one look comes from the angle they set up for themselves in advance of the play.

The referee made this call from a deficient position almost parallel to the contact.  From this location Carl Hagelin, as the player closest to the referee, was directly in the ref's sight line. This did not provide the best overall perspective to see Goligoski and even Bachman and their parts in the contact.

Had an angle been established by the referee from closer toward the goal line, clearer vision of the play would have resulted and I believe without overreacting a different assessment would have taken place.

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser is an analyst for the NHL on TSN and That's Hockey 2Nite on TSN2. As one of the league's most recognizable senior referees, he's worked 1,904 NHL regular season games and 261 playoff games during his 37-year career.

Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at!

You can also follow Kerry Fraser on Twitter at @kfraserthecall!

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