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Fraser: Rule 67 on David Desharnais' crease work

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Kerry Fraser
5/13/2014 1:15:33 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 Kerry,
 
In the third period of Game 6 between the Bruins and Canadiens, Boston came within millimetres of getting one past Carey Price. Zdeno Chara's shot from the point bounced off Carey Price and into the air before dropping right in the crease. David Desharnais then swept it away with his glove, but should a penalty shot have been called???
 
David Krast
Boston
 
David:

The answer to your question is found in Rule 67 - handling the puck. Generally speaking anytime a player places his hand over the puck while it is on the ice in order to conceal if from or prevent an opponent from playing the puck, a minor penalty shall be assessed for "closing his hand on the puck". When this is done in his team's goal crease area, a penalty shot shall be assessed.

More specifically to David Desharnais' handling of the puck as it was about to cross the goal line following the shot by Zdeno Chara, rule 67.4 states; if a defending player, except a goalkeeper, while play is in progress, falls on the puck, holds the puck, picks up the puck, or gathers the puck into his body or hands from the ice in the goal crease area, the play shall be stopped immediately and a penalty shot shall be awarded to the non-offending team.

In the application of this rule a player is allowed to bat, drag, push or sweep the puck clear of the goal crease with an open palm or closed fist so long as this action does not cover the puck in any manner. David Desharnais 'legally' handled the puck in the goal crease area when he dove and contacted the side portion of the puck with a closed glove (tight fist versus open palm on top of the puck) and bunted/dragged the puck with a swift, forceful motion from narrowly crossing the line. This legal action by Desharnais propelled the puck away from the goal line toward and under Carey Price to stop play. It is important to note David, that had the puck had come to rest and been covered under the body of Desharnais instead of Price, a penalty shot would have resulted. It was a tremendous defensive play by the Montreal forward to prevent a sure goal through the legal use of his hand on the puck inside the goal crease.

Referee Kelly Sutherland also did an outstanding job to attack the net along the goal line as this play developed and then to wave off a potential goal and penalty shot from his final location directly behind the net. As a result of Sutherland's attack angle and close finish behind the net, the referee was able to clearly determine that the puck had not crossed the goal line nor had Desharnais covered the puck with his hand or body. On this crucial play inside the goal crease, referee Sutherland demonstrated excellent visual awareness to read the play and then quickly move his feet to gain the optimum position to render the correct call.  

Game 7 back in Boston should be a real dandy.

David Desharnais (Photo: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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