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Fraser: A look at questionable goaltender interference

Kerry Fraser
3/12/2014 2:49:55 PM
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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.

Hi Kerry,
 
"Goalie interference, no goal"
 
http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=2013020977-X-h

Devils defenceman bumps/trips Flyer towards the net, both touch goalie.
 
"Good goal"
 
http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=2013020984-X-h 
(the Burns goal)
 
The goalie was being held on the ice by an attacking player - isn't that textbook goaltender interference?
 
Brian
 
Hi Kerry,
 
I have a question about the Sharks 2nd goal tonite. The ref blew his whistle and waived off the goal, seemingly indicating there was a reason why it wasn't a goal. If he only believed the puck had not entered the net, wouldn't the play go on as the puck was still live?
 
Seems to me that was a give-back for the blown call minutes earlier where San Jose was robbed of a goal by the ref's quick whistle.
 
Love to hear your perspective.
 
Thanks
David
 
Brian and David:

Thank you very much for submitting your questions as to why contact with the goalkeeper in Philadelphia resulted in a crucial disallowed goal, yet in San Jose the Sharks second goal was allowed to stand. This is not an example of inconsistency, as some might suggest, but the referee's correct decision on both plays is supported in the language and interpretation found in Rule 69.

With the Flyers net empty for an extra attacker, the puck was kicked out of a high scrum of players and thrown across ice by Kimmo Timonen to Jacub Voracek. Scott Hartnell broke for the net with Anton Volchenchov in close pursuit from behind. There was some minor contact exerted by Volchenkov on Hartnell as the Flyer extended to redirect Voracek's pass at Martin Brodeur from outside the crease. Brodeur made the initial save but offered up a rebound as Volchenkov lost his balance and fell to the ice with a slide toward the goal. There was no push, shove or check delivered by Volchenkov on Hartnell and their contact was incidental in nature.

Scott Hartnell remained on his skates in a path that took him into the goal crease. Hartnell repositioned his body and began to throw snow in a stopping motion. It appears at this point that Scott's skate contacted the puck and directed it back into Brodeur's stacked pads. Scott Hartnell's forward momentum then took him deep into the goal crease. Hartnell initiated a hip bump at the point of contact with Martin Brodeur that knocked both the goalie and the puck into the net.

Referee Tom Kowal, with very good position to see the contact, utilized Rule 69.6 to immediately wave off the potential goal. (69.6: In the event that a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck after making a stop, the goal will be disallowed.) Kowal correctly ruled that the contact by Hartnell was "incidental" as opposed to deliberate thereby resulting in no goal and no penalty on the play.

This is not a reviewable play. The decision made by the Toronto Situation Room to initiate a review and the subsequent announcement the referee was forced to make did not bring clarity or support the decision made on the ice by referee Kowal. The delay in getting the game resumed quickly, in addition to the announcement, "Following video review it's confirmed it's not a 'good hockey goal'. It's no goal" further infuriated Flyers fans in the building for no useful purpose since video review could not overturn the referee's decision. 

Bottom line is that in the judgment of the referee, Martin Brodeur and the puck were knocked into the net through incidental contact exerted by Scott Hartnell. The call made on the ice by the referee was both correct and courageous - end of story!

In San Jose, Joe Thornton was positioned to the side and above the goal crease when Tim Gleason of the Leafs checked Thornton from behind with solid contact. The hit caused Thornton to lurch forward into Dion Phaneuf positioned at the top, middle of the crease. Phaneuf pushed back on Thornton, causing 'Jumbo Joe' to enter the blue paint. Thornton was conscious of avoiding contact with Leafs goalkeeper James Reimer, as demonstrated by his effort to straddle Reimer with a wide stance. Thornton's forward momentum from the Phaneuf push, combined with Joe's wide stance, caused his upper body to veer forward with a loss of balance. In an effort to regain his balance, Joe had no alternative but to place his hands on the back of James Reimer. Thornton quickly pushed himself up and off Reimer and then immediately exited the goal crease prior to the shot entering the net.

The referee's decision is supported by Rule 69.1; (If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.) Joe Thornton made more than a reasonable attempt to avoid James Reimer after being body checked by two Leaf players at the edge of the goal crease. The speed with which Thornton exited the crease is also of significance. Had he delayed his departure and remained in contact with the goalkeeper a different decision by the referee would most likely have been rendered. 

The referee waved the goal off because he thought the puck hit the crossbar on the shot by Brent Burns. Video review subsequently confirmed that the puck did enter the net on the shot. The ref's initial decision on this play had nothing to do with the previously disallowed goal when he ruled the puck was covered and play dead prior to Scott Hannan jamming the puck from under James Reimer.

In Philadelphia and San Jose, two distinctly different plays involved contact with the goalkeeper and resulted in the correct decision being rendered by both refs based on two separate rule applications contained in Rule 69.

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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