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Fraser: Explaining Subban dislodging the net in Game 3

Kerry Fraser
5/7/2014 1:33:26 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.

Hey Kerry,

How in the world does PK Subban not get a penalty for pushing the net off with less than a minute left in the game!!!!

As the broadcaster said, is it not a penalty shot? Was the official holding back in a tough spot?

Martin Smalling,
Kingston, ON

Martin:

First I provide the rule that the broadcaster, Jim Hughson referenced: 

(63.2) A minor penalty shall be imposed on any player who delays the game by deliberately displacing a goal post from its normal position. The Referee shall stop the play immediately when the offending team gains possession of the puck. (63.5) If by reason of insufficient time in the regular playing time or by reason of penalties already imposed, the minor penalty assessed to a player for deliberately displacing his own goal post cannot be served in its entirety within the regular playing time of the game or at any time in overtime, a penalty shot shall be awarded against the offending team. 

Martin, for the referee to apply this rule the optimum word is "deliberate."

There was more than reasonable doubt created on this play (Click here for the viz courtesy of TH2N) in the referee's judgment (and mine) that PK Subban did not deliberately displace the goal post in his effort to gain possession of the puck behind the Montreal net. As you watch the replay take note of the puck location as it rested behind the Montreal net after it was shot into the Habs zone by David Krejci and played by the stick of Carey Price from within his goal crease. 

Subban is the closest Montreal player to the puck just outside and to the right of center of the goal crease as he faced the net. PK is also a right hand shot and would have noticed in advance the Bruins forecheck by  Zdeno Chara to his right side and Milan Lucic in the centre and Jarome Iginla to Subban's left. Given Subban's position in the moment and that of the puck in relation to the Bruins' forecheckers, PK determined his best play was to get to the puck and reverse it up the wall with his forehand. An attempted backhand clearing shot against the oncoming force of Chara was clearly not the best or safest option for Subban to take!

PK Subban's attack of the puck (based on his position) took him through Carey Price's goal crease until he was forced to make an immediate right turn at the corner of the net with Lucic and Igina bearing down on his left side.

Subban recognized he had little time to get to the puck and make a play in advance of the Bruins attack and in the essence of time cut as closely to the goal post as possible. Just prior to contact with the post Subban elevated his shoulder and changed his posture in what appears to be a minimal effort to avoid the post. Given the hard cut that he was making contact with the post became accidental and not deliberate. I don't even believe this was an "accidentally on purpose" moment for PK Subban as his intent was to get to the puck as quickly as he could to make a play.

For the referee to assess a penalty shot on this play there had to be absolutely no doubt in his mind that PK Subban's intent was to deliberately displace the goal post. More than reasonable doubt was created.

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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