Fraser: How a Flames goal against Nashville was waved off

Kerry Fraser
10/24/2011 2:23:42 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!


During the second period of the game between the Nashville Predators and the Calgary Flames on Saturday, the Flames appeared to score a goal that was waved off by the referee. The play went to the war room in Toronto for review and the war room ruled that the puck did completely cross the goal line. However, the referee still ruled no goal due to goaltender contact/interference.

My question is: Why did the referee even consult the war room if he ruled that the play was either goaltender interference or incidental contact on the goalie?  It muddies the water somewhat for this fan because it makes it seem that the war room was telling the referee that yes it was a goal, but there was contact on the goalie prior to the puck crossing the goal line.

Any clarification you could provide would be appreciated.  Thanks very much.

Cheers, Marty Butcher


Kerry, I was at the Predators/Flames game yesterday. 

There was a scramble in front of the Nashville net and the Flames' players started to celebrate a goal. When one of the referees emphatically waved off the goal I assumed it was because the puck hadn't crossed the goal line (I couldn't see the puck from my seat). There was a discussion at the score keeper's box involving the referees and the Flames captain. Once the discussion was done the PA announcer said that the goal was disallowed due to incidental contact with the goaltender. The replay that was shown in the rink did not show any obvious goaltender interference (I admit I may be a little biased).

This morning I read that the play was not video reviewed. Is that correct? If there was no video review, why not?  This would seem to be a good play to use video to determine the correct ruling.

Thanks - Dwayne Spelay

Great Question Marty and Dwayne:

The fan's perception that a play is under video review when an apparent goal has scored is a logical one. This is especially true if the referee is handed the headset at the penalty bench or  given the fact that every goal must be reviewed through the video process prior to the referee being given permission to drop the puck at center ice to ensure that a valid goal had been scored.  This is what you should look for as a fan in determining if the play is in fact placed under video review.

Player reaction: The team that suspects the puck crossed the goal line or the defending team will react and immediately approach the referee with their appeal.

Referee reaction: The referee is required to make a signal (either a wave-off or point to the net) on the ice when an apparent goal has been scored. This is done in the event that video review returns an inconclusive verdict in which case the referee's decision on the play would stand.

If you see the referee make a motion to the players that he is "going upstairs" once he is confronted then you can bet an announcement will be made once the referee arrives at the penalty bench. In all cases where a video review is to be conducted (either initiated by the referee or the Situation Room in Toronto/in-house video goal judge) the Public Address Announcer in the building is required to make an announcement that, "The play is under video review."  Until you hear that announcement rest assured that a video review is not taking place or a decision made on the ice prevents the possibility for a review.

That is exactly what happened in Calgary on Saturday as I watched the play right along with you.  We saw that referee Tom Kowal, from great position along the goal line to the right of Nashville goalkeeper Pekka Rinne, immediately waved off a Flames apparent goal due to incidental contact on Rinne that was initiated by Tom Kostopoulos.  

Derek Smith of the Calgary Flames drove to the net from the right hand side of the Nashville goal and threw the puck at Pekka Rinne.  As Rinne pushed the puck out with his blocker Tom Kostopoulos followed the initial shot by Smith from close proximity along the goal line with referee Tom Kowal looking over his shoulder. Kostopoulos attempted to jam the rebound past Rinne from the top of the crease and in the process made significant contact to the right shoulder of the Nashville goalkeeper after Rinne made the save.  The resulting contact delivered by Kostopolous was enough to alter Rinne's position by knocking the Nashville goalkeeper and the puck across the goal line. The puck had already crossed the line prior to Jackman's jam at the puck and celebration.  Rule 69.9 says that, "In the event that a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck by an attacking player after making a stop, the goal will be disallowed."

By the referee immediately waving off the goal for incidental contact with the goalkeeper the play could not be reviewed for any purpose as set forth in the rule book outlining the criteria for video review.

Since the broadcast cut away immediately to a commercial break I did not see if referee Tom Kowal picked up the headset at the penalty bench prior to making an in-house announcement as to his decision and why the apparent goal was disallowed.

The correct procedure would be for the referee that waved off the goal, after consultation with his fellow officials to proceed to the penalty time keeper's bench. The other referee should inform Captain Jerome Iginla of the decision. The linesmen would keep all players clear of the referee crease at the penalty bench area.

Tom Kowal would then stop at the top of the referee crease, click on his microphone and announce via the public address system that, "There was no goal on the play due to incidental contact with the Nashville goalkeeper."   

At this point everyone in the building and on the television broadcast would know why the goal had been disallowed and eliminate any question or further discussion as to the play being under review. (Even after the commercial break and as play resumed there was still speculation on the Flames broadcast that the play had been reviewed)
Following the referee's announcement, any communication via the headset with the Situation Room in Toronto and/or the Video Review Official in the building would simply be a "courtesy call" to advise them directly of his on-ice decision and shouldn't "muddy the water" as to who actually made the decision on the play.

On Saturday afternoon in Calgary, Referee Tom Kowal made the right call from perfect position to preserve Pekka Rinne's eventual shutout performance. 

Pekka Rinne (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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