Fraser: A look back at Corey Perry's empty net goal

Kerry Fraser
3/29/2012 2:24:12 PM
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Hi Kerry - On Wednesday, the Sharks were down 2-1 with about 10 seconds left in the third and an empty net.  Dan Boyle made a sliding play on Corey Perry, going hard into the post and knocking off the net.  Perry's shot wouldn't have gone in whether the net was on or off, but a goal was awarded by the referee. Getzlaf and Perry were laughing in disbelief on the ice and even the Ducks announcers thought it was wrong.  The camera also caught Boudreau mouthing 'wow' after the goal was confirmed.

I think the relevant rule here is 63.6, which requires the defending player to have intentionally displaced the net and stopped an impending goal with an empty net.  Boyle's intent here was unclear.  On the replay, it looks like Boyle lost his edge - he's listing precariously, his ankles are bent, and then he starts to go down.  However, as knocking the net off is exactly the kind of play a savvy vet makes, I can see how a ref making a decision in real time would deem it intentional.  

What I can't see is how it was an imminent goal.  Two things: 1. Was Perry even shooting?  His angle was bad, and Getzlaf was in front of an open net.  My first thought was that he was passing to Getzlaf, who was bringing his stick down to shoot. 2. Perry's shot/pass wouldn't have gone in, and the puck bounced behind the net, so there was no easy rebound for Getzlaf.  Knocking off the net only kept the Ducks from possibly retrieving the puck and taking a third shot.

The irony is that the Ducks took two shots on the empty net and missed, yet were awarded a goal on the basis that the empty net constituted an impeding goal. My poor Sharks cooked their own goose in this game, but the final call (see what I did there?) just added insult to injury. 

Most sincerely,
Katie Strachan/The Depressed Shark Nation


Hi Kerry,

Just watched the most bizarre declaration of an "awarded" goal I have ever seen. The Anaheim Ducks' Corey Perry was awarded a goal when the replay clearly showed (when slowed down) that the puck hit the outside of the net BEFORE the post was removed from its moorings by San Jose Sharks' Dan Boyle, while he was attempting to block the shot. 

How can a goal be awarded in this situation when:

1) The puck was clearly not going to enter the net

2) Dan Boyle was attempting to block the shot and the post was removed inadvertantly

Dave Martell
Edmonton, Alberta
Hello Kerry,
I want to start out by saying I appreciate what you are doing here and helping the fans understand the game a little bit better. My question is about the Anaheim-San Jose game on March 28, in the final seconds of the game Anaheim was going towards an empty net to score. as
Corey Perry shot the puck and hit the SIDE of the net, the ref awarded the goal. I know when the net is dislodged and the opponent has the chance to score on the net, the goal is to be rewarded. But what I am confused about is why did the ref go to the war room? The video showed multiple angles of Perrys shot hitting the side of the net before the net was dislodged. Does this matter?
Thank you!
Curtis Dixon

Katie, Dave and Curtis:

Quite often it helps to know the history of a rule to understand its intended application in game situations. I know a great deal about the history of rule 63.6 - awarded goal. I proposed the initial rule in written form when it was first adopted by the rules committee and Board of Governors in the 1980's in addition to the revised current edition. Both resulted from separate game situations that I encountered. Here's a history lesson for you on rule 63 - delay of game and specifically 63.6 - awarded goal.

In the 1980's in a game in the St. Louis Arena the Blues hosted the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers were exerting huge pressure on Mike Liut and the Blues.  Liut was making one huge save after another when he slid post to post to make a save and got caught outside his goal crease.  The rebound went right onto the stick of Glenn Anderson standing in the low slot. Anderson couldn't believe his good fortune as he stared into a wide open net; a sure goal for the taking by the future Hockey Hall of Fame sniper.

As Glenn was about to trigger a shot, Blues defenceman Tim Bothwell lifted the net off its moorings and pushed it into to the corner. A confused look came over Anderson since he didn't know where to shoot the puck; where the net used to be positioned or as Bothwell continued to slide into the corner of the rink?
'Andy' kept adjusting his position and followed the path of the net as I blew my whistle to halt play. A sure goal was taken away when the net was deliberately displaced. All I could assess was a delay of game penalty to Tim Bothwell for deliberately displacing the goal post.

I provided a written rule proposal to NHL Referee-in-Chief, Scotty Morrison that was ultimately recommended by the NHL Rules Committee and passed by the Board of Governors for inclusion in the rule book the following season. The key to the rule was that the attacking player must have shot the puck or was in the act of shooting when the net was deliberately displaced and that the puck would have entered the net between the normal position of the goal posts.

That seemed to work well until I encountered an unfair advantage gained when a Vancouver Canuck defenceman made a desperation dive/slide to block a shot that was about to enter the open net. The defenceman's momentum carried him into the post knocking the net off its mooring just prior to the puck crossing the line. This was not a deliberate act by the defenceman to knock the net off so no penalty could result or a goal be awarded. It was simply an accidental by-product of his attempt to stop the puck. The end result was the same however since a sure goal was negated when the net was knocked off the moorings prior to the puck crossing the goal line.

I brought forward the flaw in the rule and the language of 63.3 was changed to its present form:

"In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, by a defending player, prior to the puck crossing the goal line between the normal position of the goalposts, the Referee may award a goal.

In order to award a goal in this situation, the goal post must have been displaced by the actions of defending player, the puck must have been shot (or the player must be in the act of shooting) at the goal prior to the goal post being displaced, and it must be determined that the puck would have entered the net
between the normal position of the goal posts.

When the goal post has been displaced deliberately by the defending team when their goalkeeper has been removed for an extra attacker thereby preventing an impending goal by the attacking team, the Referee shall award a goal to the attacking team."    

Last night in Anaheim, Dan Boyle slid to block an impending bad angle shot (video link here) directed at the net by Corey Perry. As Boyle slid to block the corner of the net Perry was in the act of shooting. The puck had been released and struck the side netting just beyond the post as Dan Boyle made contact with and moved the goal off its mooring. It was a bang-bang play as the puck hit close to the post that became mobile in the next blink of an eye and came to rest well off the flexible peg toward the end boards.

Past and present history aside, from the replay we see clearly that the puck would not have entered the net in its normal position but struck the side mess close to the goal post.  The visually perception that the referee was given from his position in the corner near Perry (with everything set  in motion) was that the puck would have squeaked past the goal post and into the net had Dan Boyle not make contact with it.  We know that was not the case through our unofficial review.

As such, the whistle should have blown when Dan Boyle accidentally knocked the net off its moorings for a San Jose end zone faceoff. No awarded goal would have been deserved or resulted.

This play is not reviewable and the awarded goal decision must be made by the referee on the ice. Communication with the situation room would be normal to advise them of the basis for the referee awarding the goal. Any discussion beyond that would be of no value to the outcome. Toronto could look at the play all they wanted but the decision made on the ice took any opportunity for review out of their hands; such as did the puck cross the goal line prior to the net being dislodged. The more they looked at it the more they would have seen that the puck hit the side of the net like you and I did.

The awarded goal did not affect the probable outcome of the game. It provided Corey Perry with a goal in the record book that he didn't deserve. Beyond that is anyone interested in a coach's challenge or to allow the referee to make his own video review to determine the valid scoring of goals? All it takes is a blink of the eye.

For a personally autographed copy of Final Call from TSN hockey analyst and former NHL referee Kerry Fraser, visit The Book Keeper website.

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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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