C'mon Ref: Fraser's call on the Sharks snowing Howard

Kerry Fraser

5/2/2011 4:42:37 PM

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Mr. Fraser,
I just wanted to say I really enjoy your segment on TSN and your insight you are providing. My question to you is why have the Sharks not been called for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for snowing the Red Wings' Jimmy Howard? The Shark players are obviously making all efforts to snow him!
Sanjeev Bhagrath

Dear Sanjeev: Thank you for watching 'C'mon Ref' on TSN and your kind comments. It's our objective to provide a different perspective for viewers that is honest, opinionated but fair. I take the same approach through answering questions in this forum.

Grab the shovel because you are bang on relative to the 'snow job' that Jimmy Howard is getting. As a referee, I wanted players to STOP before running into the goalie. The method and purpose here, however, is blatantly obvious. Action must be taken by the referees. Here's how I would have handled the situation.

The second time it happened I would have approached the San Jose bench and had a direct conversation with coach Todd McLellan. Todd is a very intelligent coach and an excellent guy to deal with. I would have said, "Todd, we have a pattern here that you and I need to address. The next Shark player that stops hard for the purpose of deliberately throwing snow in Jimmy Howard's face will receive an unsportsmanlike minor penalty! Can I count on you to take care of this please before I have to?"
Knowing Todd as I do I believe that would be all it would take? If, however it did happen again my greatest hope is that the act would be committed by the worst offender - Joe Pavelski! One call would take the snow plow off the road until next winter and justice would be served.

Hey Kerry,
A friend and I could use some clarification on this - when a goalie is in the blue paint, is it against the rules to in any way, however small (sticks included) to touch him? And when he's out of the paint, are there any special rules on coming in contact with him, or could a player theoretically knock him over like he would any other skater?
Thanks a lot, Bobby from Toronto (Go Leafs Go!)

Hi Bobby: The whole protection of the goalkeeper is based on the premise that the goalie should be allowed to move freely within his goal crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player. Contact by the body or stick of the attacking player with the goalie or an attacking player that established significant presence within the goal crease so as to obstruct the goalkeeper's vision and impair his ability to defend his goal would result in a disallowed goal.
If incidental contact (non-deliberate) occurs while the goalie is in his blue paint any goal scored would be disallowed and NO penalty would result. In all cases in which contact is deemed intentional or deliberate, whether inside or outside the crease or if a goal was scored or not, a MINOR penalty to the attacking player for interference on the goalkeeper would result.

The exception to this rule is if an attacking player was pushed, checked or fouled by a defending player that would have caused him to come in contact with the goalie. Even then, the attacking player must attempt to make a reasonable effort to avoid goalie contact.

The bottom line is that attacking players are to avoid the goalkeeper at all times. We have witnessed 15 minor penalties to this point called in the playoffs called for goalie interference versus 18 delay of game penalties for shooting the puck over the glass! These numbers don't constitute an epidemic relative to interference of the goalkeepers. If the San Jose snow job doesn't stop once that series moves to Detroit, watch out for some contact in coming Antti Niemi's direction!

Oh and by the way Bobby, your Leafs ship has left the dock and is sailing in the right direction with the perfect 'Captain Burke' at the helm! Keep the faith; I'm retired...

I was just watching the Washington/Tampa Bay Game 2 highlights and I don't understand the roughing call on Mike Green's check of Nate Thompson early in the second period. It looks to me as if Green was finishing his check - and a good clean open ice check it was. Thompson had only just passed the puck, and therefore was still in play as it were.  It's almost as if any check that has a big fall or a big crunch into the boards is a penalty these days...perhaps some overcompensation in the new headshot/concussions era?  Any clarification would be helpful.
Thank You,
Jean Boucher from Greenfield, N.S.

Jean: Mike Green was penalized for bringing his hands up into the face area of Nate Thompson and as such was assessed a roughing minor penalty. I really don't believe that call has anything to do with sensitivity to headshots. In the overall complexion of the game this is a penalty that might not stand up to others that might have been let go. The angle that the ref had on the play is crucial as to whether he deemed the finish of the hit to be high and therefore send a message early in the series. That was obviously his take on the check.

I am more concerned over hard, high hits into the glass, particularly from behind that are deemed 'good hockey plays,' and stick infractions that have been undetected. Martin St. Louis might run out of teeth and is losing some of his bite but he still plays like Lion. 
When a puck is cleared over the glass and into the crowd and the possibility for a delay of game penalty is there, what are the referees and linesmen huddled to talk about? Are you figuring out who saw it or how many of you saw it?
Mike in Toronto

Hey Mike: The huddle is to confirm that the puck was shot directly out of the rink and did not deflect or contact the glass on the way out of the playing surface. Each official has a different vantage point on the ice and a pooling of information comes together at this juncture to make sure the call is right.

This is a call that the referee in the end zone doesn't often catch. When he is standing on the goal line or in the corner and the puck is shot or deflected, his line of sight and focus of attention is out toward the play. Very seldom would the ref look backward and follow the path of the puck since he might miss an infraction that could occur in front of him. It is generally an easier call for the ref in the neutral zone or the linesmen to make since they are looking in toward the zone.

Something that many fans don't know is that the puck is deemed to be out of play and worthy of a penalty once it clears the glass and traverses over the spectator seating area even if it were to end up in the players' bench.

Hi Kerry,
How come refs never call the player who intentionally holds another player's stick with their arm? I see this on numerous occasions where a player is trying to lift the stick while the opposing player squeezes his arm to hold the player's stick in place.
Shouldn't this be a holding penalty, just as much as a "hooking?"
Robert Stewart - Halifax

You are correct Robert and this can be called holding on the puck carrier. I have called this infraction when an attacking player attempts to protect the puck with his arm and hand by fending off a potential stick check. The 'fending off' (blocking) is not the problem. It becomes a holding penalty when the attacking player grabs it with his hand, clamps his arm down on it or doubles over at the waist to eliminate use of the stick by its rightful owner!

I have seen players that have had the use of their sticks in this fashion think and react quickly by just letting go of it. The guilty party is caught playing with or holding onto two sticks.

I called it one night on Brad Marsh (The Octopus) when he had two sticks attached to him. As he complained I looked at the name stamped on both sticks and said, "Which one are you, Robitaille or Marsh?" Brad went to the penalty box with the right stick in his hand!
Generally when a checker places the stick into the midsection or under arm of another player the referee will allow some minor detainment before determining which player is actually doing the restraining. I was always an audible referee and would shout a command to let the stick go. If the players' hearing was bad or just refused to comply with my request he would spend a couple of minutes in the penalty box clearing out the wax!