NHL

Fraser: Delay of game call on Bernier was the right one

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Kerry Fraser
3/3/2014 12:39:54 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.

Hi,
 
The Leafs/Canadiens game Saturday night was very entertaining, right up until the penalty in overtime against Bernier and the Leafs. Can you please explain what Bernier did wrong to be awarded that penalty in OT?
 
Thanks,
Brad Mains
 
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Kerry,
 
In the game last night - Leafs and Habs - the ref called a penalty on Bernier for delay of game in OT. I know it is a rule in the books, but has not been called, IMO, very much. It is the rule, but my question is this - Was calling it OT a fair thing to do?  I realize the ref was damned if did and damned if not! What is your take on this. Cheers!
 
Ray Bungay
 
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Kerry:
 
In the Toronto - Montreal game, there was a penalty handed to Bernier of Toronto for Delay of game for coming out of his net and smothering the puck with a Montreal player right there.  This seems an unusual if not unnecessary call, given it was in the overtime.  I have never seen this before.  What is the basis for the call? Your views would be helpful.
 
Ted Baskerville
 
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Hi Kerry,
The Leafs Habs game Saturday night, the overtime penalty assessed to Bernier. I have seen many goalies cover the puck well outside their crease, I asked a goalie friend of mine and he said he was taught as long as the goalie can reach or has some part of himself in the crease it can be covered outside of the crease. Is this a rule? I believe Bernier was still in the crease when he dove at the puck then slid for another couple of feet. Was that the right call or am I just another bitter Leafs fan.

Thanks,
Chris Stevens
 
Brad, Ray, Ted and Chris:

I don't want to add fuel to the "bitterness" some Leafs fans might feel or even demonstrate on occasion but the delay of game penalty that Jonathan Bernier was assessed in the overtime loss to the Canadiens on Saturday was a must call for the referee to make regardless of the score or the time remaining in the game! In every case, when a goalkeeper skates out of his net and covers on a loose puck that far from his crease a delay of game penalty should be assessed as per the rule. This infraction committed by the goalkeeper should applied with the same consistency as the puck over glass rule that we saw called against Peter Budaj (8:31 of first period) and Phil Kessel with just 31 seconds remaining in regulation time.

From Rule 63.2: A minor penalty shall be imposed on any player, including the goalkeeper, who holds, freezes or plays the puck with his stick, skates or body in such a manner as to deliberately cause a stoppage of play. With regard to a goalkeeper, this rule applies outside of his goal crease area.

If a goalkeeper comes out of his crease to "cut down the angle" on a shot and after making the save covers the puck, this shall be legal. If the goalkeeper races out of his crease in an attempt to beat the attacking player to the puck and instead of playing the puck jumps on the puck causing a stoppage of play, this shall be a minor penalty for delay of game.

The long stretch pass that PK Subban fired near the Habs' goal line was too hot for Daniel Briere to handle cleanly at the Leafs blue line and created a race for a loose puck with Bernier on the potential scoring opportunity. A scoring opportunity was clearly eliminated when Bernier got to the puck first and covered it with his glove to cause a stoppage in play as opposed to legally playing the puck with his goal stick.

The referee whistled the play dead and raised his arms in an upward fashion but did not immediately or emphatically signal a penalty to Bernier as he should have.  A slower, perhaps methodical response by the ref was evident in both the camera shot and the minute of run-on commentary by the broadcasters before it became evident to them that a penalty to Bernier had been assessed. While you have never seen this penalty called Ted, I can assure you that I personally assessed it a number of times during my 30-year NHL officiating career. Whenever I had the occasion to make this call I did so immediately with an emphatic signal so there was no doubt or confusion in anyone's mind that a penalty was assessed to the goalkeeper in this unique situation.

Jonathan Bernier clearly violated rule 63.2 at 3:14 of the overtime period. The correct call was made by the referee and resulted in Max Pacioretty's eventual power play game-winning goal.  

Jonathan Bernier (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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