NHL

Fraser: Derek Stepan and his goal line save in Game 4

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Kerry Fraser
6/12/2014 1:41:20 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.

Kerry,
 
With just over a second left in the game, the L.A. Kings puck got behind Henrik Lundqvist. Derek Stepan got in, swatting the puck back under Lundqvist with his glove. How is that not a penalty shot???
 
Andrew Sullivan,
London, ON
 
Andrew:

Your question relates to rule 67.4 - "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 and enforcement of this rule it important to note that a player (in this case Derek Stepan) is allowed to push the puck from within (video link) the goal crease with his glove so long as he does not cover the puck (*hand over top). Additionally, once the puck has been "pushed," it is allowed to legally pass with continuous motion beneath and beyond the body of Stepan. 

The puck was contacted twice by the glove hand of Stepan. The first time, to bat it forward from the goal line which caused the puck to deflect off Lundqvist and back toward the shin pad of Stepan who had assumed a position on both knees.

The Ranger player then altered his body position away from the puck and swept it under the equipment of Lundqvist with the cuff of his left glove. At no time did Derek Stepan place his hand over the puck or cover it with his body.

That is the reason Referee Wes McCauley did not award a penalty shot to the LA Kings but instead correctly ruled the play dead when the puck came to rest under the blocker of Henrik Lundqvist. The front view replay angle shown one time on NBC demonstrates the puck in continuous motion and at no time covered by Stepan.

I can't say enough about the exceptional positioning that Referee McCauley demonstrated on this play.  With Tanner Pearson and Marc Staal crashing near the ref along the goal line and outside the crease McCauley quickly blew past the fallen players to attack the net below the goal line. The referee almost stuck his nose into the netting behind the cage to clearly observe the entire proceedings on the puck.

The focus, concentration and intensity demonstrated by referee Wes McCauley matched that of the players in this pressure packed moment. McCauley gave not a drop of sweat less than the game required of him.

Derek Stepan (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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