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In the Tampa Bay vs Washington game the fourth goal had to go to review. During the replays, you could clearly see that Malone never made a kicking motion on the puck and was awarded the goal. While there was clearly no distinct kicking motion, Malone's stick prohibited Washington's goalie from making a proper kick save. Initially, Malone's stick was in the proper place for a redirection; however as the puck ended up in his skates, his stick continued in a forward motion and push the goaltenders leg into the net allowing the puck to enter the net. Being from the suburbs of Detroit, we've seen goals call back all year from Holmstrom having obstructed the goaltenders ability to make the save with less contact than Malone's. Had you been in the replay booth, would you have still awarded the goal?
Thanks, Joe Barone - Troy, MI
The time has come to allow coach challenges on goals for goaltender interference. I completely agree that Malone did not kick the puck in but watch his stick push Neuvirth's pad out of the way. That is the only reason the puck crossed the line. I wouldn't want to be Leonsis watching the replay on that one.
C'mon ref - you gotta make that call!
Brian Sambirsky - Calgary, AB
Dear Joe and Brian:
You are both right on the money in your 'final call' from the replay screen. Goalie interference resulted from the push of Ryan Malone's stick against the right pad of Michal Neuvirth. The contact was forceful enough to spin Neuvirth into the net, thereby preventing him from making a save. The puck crossed the goal line where his goal pad had been previously placed.
There was another "dirty goal" scored in the second game yesterday between Vancouver-Nashville which I am sure David Poile isn't happy about, even beyond the Shea Weber hooking penalty in overtime On the scoring of Vancouver's second goal, early in the third period, Ryan Kesler made significant incidental contact with Nashville goalkeeper Pekka Rinne. Rinne was positioned well within the top of his goal crease as Kesler pursued a loose puck that resulted from a rebound off Chris Higgins' initial shot. The body contact by Kesler sent Rinne sprawling outside of his crease. Even though he valiantly attempted to flop back and defend the return shot by Higgins, the puck entered the unattended cage.
These were both very quick, 'bang-bang' plays at the net and not easy for the goal line referee to detect, especially when there is more than one player crashing the net. On both of these plays an offensive and defensive player was involved in the action. It's very easy to be an armchair quarterback on this and say the refs missed the call. The question should be why so and how can it be avoided in the future.
Here's my take:
I was sitting with Senior Producer Steve Dryden watching the game on a monitor in the studio when Malone went hard to the net. As the goal was scored in real time I shouted to Steve, "that can't count, that was goalie interference." Upon further review it confirmed what I saw on the first look that Malone had pushed Neuvirth into the net with his stick. (My first response was the same on the Kesler-Rinne contact as well.)
I saw it on the first look in real time because I don't follow the puck when action is tight to the goal. I narrow my focus of attention on the closest attacking player to the goalie in addition to any defensive player that might bump, push or check the attacker into his own goalie. The reason for this is that if the puck crossed the line illegally (kicked, gloved, high stick, etc) video review has the authority to determine the legitimacy of the goal. They cannot, however review and disallow a goal that resulted from goalie interference. That call must be made by the referee on the ice and in this type of play it is the "hot spot". It usually happens in a blink and you don't get a second look.
My best advice to the referee is read the potential of the play in advance, gain the best possible sight line and focus your attention to the leading edge of contact with the goalie. It's not rocket science, but it usually works.
Just ask Michel Bergeron and Alain Cote of the Quebec Nordiques and Montreal Canadiens goalie Brian Hayward how it worked at the 1987 playoffs in Game 5 in the Battle of Quebec. Hayward will tell you that Cote's disallowed goal along with the goalie interference penalty that resulted to Paul Gillis of the Nordiques with three minutes left in regulation of the tie game was bang on…my focus of attention was in the right place at the right moment.