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Fraser: Was the right call made on Oilers' disallowed goal?

Kerry Fraser
1/25/2013 7:23:05 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry Fraser wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!

Hi Kerry,

What was your take on the Kings vs. Oilers? Mostly in question of the penalties and the controversial goal that was taken away. It looked like Rob Scuderi pushed Sam Gagner into Jonathan Quick. Then Quick pinned Gagner's leg as he made every effort to get his leg out! Thanks - and glad to have you back answering questions for us!

Kelvin Yee

Kelvin:

Let us focus our initial attention on the apparent goal by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins that was disallowed due to Sam Gagner's contact in the crease with Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. This was a very difficult call to make on the ice. As you know, the play must be judged in real-time by the officials from the various angles the four men had in that moment. We also know this play is not reviewable.

You and I can now unofficially review the play. I will walk you through the entire process, including the wording and interpretation of Rule 69.1: Interference on the Goalkeeper. When I am done with my explanation, I hope that you will come to the same determination as me; that the correct call was eventually arrived at on the ice and the goal could not possibly stand.

Here's why:

Kelvin is correct that there was contact initiated by Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi on Sam Gagner at the edge of the goal crease. Rule 69.1 states that: "If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for the purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact."

My bold highlight is one of two factors as to why I support the official's call to disallow the goal. As we review the footage from our TSN broadcast of the game, particularly the overhead angle, I want you to pay special attention to the location and direction of the contact exerted by Scuderi on Gagner. Next, please take note of the reaction and direction that Gagner's body position takes following this contact as this is crucial in our determination to disallow the goal.

What you should see is that Scuderi approached Gagner from more of a side angle, with contact made to the hip area in an effort to move the Oilers forward laterally and away from his goalkeeper. The immediate pushback reaction from Gagner was to drive forward toward Quick as demonstrated with his upper-body posture bent at the waist in a forward motion, along with a half stride ahead into the crease. Gagner's reaction to the contact by Scuderi does not constitute making a reasonable effort to avoid such contact (with Quick) as highlighted in the rule above.

The second part of the equation as to why this goal must be disallowed is that, once contact has been made with the goalkeeper, it is the responsibility of the attacking player to immediately vacate his current position in the goal crease (i.e. give ground to the goalkeeper). You will probably say this was prevented because Gagner's skate was caught in Quick's pad. While you are correct in your assertion, we need to look at the timeframe that Gagner took to remove himself from contact with the goalie.

Scuderi had disengaged Gagner following the initial contact and attempted to move Gagner laterally and away from the crease. Scuderi then had sufficient time to move to the opposite side of the net and well outside of the goal crease as he took a knee to block a shot. During this time, Gagner remained tied up with Quick as the goalie attempted to regain his position in his crease.

Rule 69.1 also states that, "The overriding rationale of this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease, without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player…"

For these reasons, the goal must be disallowed. Let us look at how the decision was arrived at on the ice since referee Tom Kowal initially ruled a goal on the play from his position on the opposite side of the net and toward the corner away from where Gagner remained tied up with Quick. Policy and procedure was followed to the letter when the four officials (Kowal, referee Greg Kimmerly and linesmen Ryan Galloway and Don Henderson) met at the officials crease and held a conference. Each official is responsible for reporting his version of the play as witnessed from his location on the ice at the time. A final decision is rendered through this process.

The officials stood tall as their final decision was rendered and the Oiler fans tossed debris onto the ice and jeered the officiating crew with uncomplimentary chants. It is an unpleasant position to be in but one that goes with the job description.

The 'Hockey Gods' were smiling on the Oilers this night as a legitimate tying goal was scored by an exuberant Nail Yakupov with 4.7 seconds remaining in regulation time. In overtime, the penalty for "Too Many Men" against Los Angeles was the correct call. When a player entering the game from the bench plays the puck while his teammate has not yet retired from the ice, the penalty is automatic — no judgment or leniency is to be applied!

As luck would have it, Gagner was once again parked on Quick's doorstep, but this time without physically contacting the goalie, and scored a clean winner on the rebound.

Upon further review, the officials' ruling on the ice stands!

Have a great weekend everyone.  

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 cmonref@tsn.ca!


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

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