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C'Mon Ref: Penalty missed on Kings' third goal in Game 2

Kerry Fraser
6/9/2014 8:17:54 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.

I'm sure you have thousands of emails on this already.

How can that third Kings goal in Game 2 be allowed? The Kings player went in to the blue paint on his own accord, made contact with the Rangers defender and then laid on Lundqvist's leg as the shot went in.

If it is not a two-minute goalie interference call, it is at least a disallowed goal because of "incidental" contact with the goalie.

I really don't see how they could rule any other way.

Thank You,
Bruce Chango
Dillsburg, PA

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Hi Kerry,

Dwight King's goal with plenty of time left in the third period last night was a huge momentum swing, eventually resulting in the Kings overtime win. However, the Rangers were unhappy about what they thought was goaltender interference on Henrik Lundqvist. Do the Rangers have any argument here?

Anthony Z.
Sault Ste. Marie, ON

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Kerry,

I'm sure you've been asked to comment on the Kings' third goal in Saturday's game and the goaltender interference controversy. But I'll ask again. What did you see and how would you have called it?

J. Rockwell
Easton, PA

Bruce, Anthony and ‘J-Rock':

A violation of Rule 69 (goalkeeper interference) was committed by Dwight King when he initiated contact with Rangers' goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist inside the goal crease. As a result of this deliberate action by King, the goal should have been disallowed and a minor penalty assessed to King for goalkeeper interference.

Some fans will maintain that King was pushed into Lundqvist through the actions of Rangers defenceman Ryan McDonough, which would have resulted in the scoring of a legal goal. From the quick look and decision rendered by referee Dan O'Halloran, I have to believe that he also felt McDonough was guilty to some degree of pushing King into the crease.

Allow me to explain why this was not the case and why I am confident that, if the referee was afforded the luxury of video review, he would have also concluded that Lundqvist was the victim of goalkeeper interference and the goal subsequently would have been disallowed. What I want to disprove is the premise that King was pushed into Lundqvist and that he did not make any reasonable effort to avoid the Ranger goalkeeper as per 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.”

We pick up the action outside the goal crease to the right of Henrik Lundqvist when Dwight King (approaching on an angle outside the crease and from behind goal line) and Ryan McDonough (front of net) engaged one another in frontal combat with their sticks in a prone cross-check position toward one another. With McDonough's posture and position, he was set to move his opponent away from the crease and not into it. King was also moving in a direction towards the slot and not facing into the blue paint. Note also that King's stick blade appears to be in tight on Lundqvist. In this pose, both players are willing combatants engaging in a battle for position outside of the crease.

Following their initial contact, King played off McDonough to the inside and then slipped laterally into the blue paint and toward Lundqvist. King then made a movement independent (separation) of McDonough with a backward press deeper into the crease and a resulting lateral ‘skate hop' that initiated solid contact with the Rangers goalie. The resulting tumble caused King to land on the right pad of Lundqvist inside the crease. This action took place as Lundqvist was attempting to remain square and set for a shot from the point that King was ultimately given credit for deflecting past the Ranger goalkeeper.

Once again from 69.1: “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. If an attacking player enters the goal crease and, by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper's ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.”

So why was this play, as I described it, missed by the referee you might ask? First of all, contact such as this can happen very quickly in real-time and, especially, while other action is taking place. Different angles can also be deceiving. In this situation, Justin Williams carried the puck behind the Rangers' goal and deep into the corner directly toward referee O'Halloran. The referee was forced to pivot out from the corner and then back to allow Williams space to carry the puck wide and up the wall.

Based on the referee's body posture, he visually followed Williams carry the puck up the wall and then deliver a cross-ice outlet pass to Matt Greene at the right point position. While this action was taking place, the contact between King and McDonough had been initiated. This, along with King's independent move into the blue paint, would have been undetected by the referee.

With a pending shot from the point and a refocus by the referee toward the front of the net, it would likely have appeared from the ref's vantage that McDonough deposited King in the goal crease as a result of the fall. It would have been a “bang-bang” play in the eye and mind of the referee under these circumstances. Lundqvist claimed that the referee told him the puck had already entered the net prior to any contact by King.
Plays of this nature and magnitude must be reviewable as I have contended for at least the past couple of seasons!

Review will be a crucial safety-check for the referees to correctly determine and enforce goalkeeper interference. The Competition Committee apparently met today. The eventual outcome of some games might just rest in their hands pending final approval of the rules committee.  

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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