Fraser: Why was Matt Cooke's goal disallowed?

Kerry Fraser

11/30/2011 1:43:24 PM

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Can you clarify why Pittsburgh's second goal was disallowed. Matt Cooke hit the puck with a high stick. The puck went towards the net and Lundqvist made the save. The puck bounced towards centre ice and the Rangers defenceman, Sauer, knocked the puck into his own net with his hand. The high stick action did not cause the puck to go in the net. The save was made and the defenceman batted it in his own net. After video review the no goal call was upheld. I understand the puck cannot be batted in with a high stick, but the save was made and the New York defenceman then put it in his own net.
Thunder Bay
I'll ask the question that I assume will be answered tomorrow. Cooke redirected a puck above his shoulder that went off of a New York defenceman and into the net. I thought the goal would be counted, but the call on the ice of no goal was upheld. I understand the high sticking rule (in the case of possession) to be negated when the puck is possessed by the other team.  Was the 'no-goal' a result of a lack of possession? If it was ruled that the Rangers possessed the puck, the goal would count, correct?  Am I right to say that the deflection did not warrant posession, so play continued?  In the ensuing play, the puck entered the net, but by way of a stick above the cross bar? 
Jordan in Boston
Hi Kerry,
First off, I love your column. As most others say, its great to get insight into the rules of the game, from someone who has as much experience as you. Thanks for making it worth reading.
My question is from the Penguins vs Rangers game. Late in the 2nd period, there was a goal by Matt Cooke that was disallowed. He played the puck with a high stick, it hit off of Lundqvist, before a Rangers defenceman appeared to hit it into the net with a directed elbow (obviously unintentional). I understand that a goal cannot be scored off a high stick, but it appears it was knocked in by the Rangers D-man, and should therefore count. How do the rules work in situations like that, and did they get the call right?
It turned out to be a huge overturned goal, as it would have made it 3-2 Penguins, and less than a minute later, the Rangers scored to make it 4-2.
Looking forward to your response.
Steve S.
Last week you had a write-up for a 'highsticked puck/goal'  puck on top of net, played, then put into the net).  Tonight, a similar play happened in the PITT/NYR game.
Cooke swatted at a puck near the net, hitting it with a stick above his shoulders.  The puck deflected off his stick blade, bouncing towards the NYR defencemen Sauer, Sauer then swatted at it again, bouncing the puck off of Lundqvist's body, then it re-bounced off of Sauer's arm into the net.
The ref reviewed the goal by video, eventually concluding the play resulted in NO GOAL. The TV commentators were saying that this should be a goal.
Was this the right call? What's the difference between THIS play and the one last week?
Craig P
Hi Kerry,
So Matt Cooke clearly hit that puck with a highstick. It bounced off of Lundqvist and then it looks like the defenceman pushed the puck in with his hand. How is that not a goal?
Thank you!
Toronto, ON
Hello Kerry,
I was watching the Penguins/Rangers game and there was a goal scored by Matt Cooke that was disallowed. Cooke knocked the puck down with a high stick, Lundquist made the save and then the Ranger defenceman knocked it into his own net when he tried to clear it. After being reviewed by the war room in Toronto the call on the ice, of no goal, stood. Why was it disallowed when the Ranger knocked it into his own net?
Thanks, Kevin
Simcoe, ON

Great question from all on this disallowed goal. The explanation given on the ice was that potential Lady Byng candidate Matt Cooke (eight PIM in 25 games) struck the puck above the crossbar prior to it entering the net. The right call was immediately made by referee, Dan O'Halloran.
As I walk you through the reasons why the goal could not stand you might think that certain rule references contradict one another. While I can't fault you for that, I'll attempt to move you beyond the legal ease and apply common sense to rule application. Please be open to the fact that some rules will override and supersede others. In the end it is my hope that you will agree with O'Halloran and me that the right decision was rendered.

As we look at the attached 'viz' (video link) there is no doubt that Matt Cooke struck the puck above both the crossbar and his shoulders. Two potential violations occur which are supported by several rule references. The end result of this play could only be to disallow the scoring of a goal or to allow play to continue if “possession and control” of the puck was ultimately gained by a NY Ranger player following Cooke's high-stick contact. Please follow the trail.

Rule 60.5 High-sticking-Goals: An apparent goal scored by an attacking player who strikes the puck with his stick carried above the height of the crossbar of the goal frame shall not be allowed. (Rule 78.5 (vi)-Disallowed Goals—similar language as 60.5)

Rule 80-High-sticking the Puck: the references here are important to note. Please stay with me since this applies to Matt Cooke striking the puck above his shoulders therefore a delayed call/whistle was in effect depending upon which team gained possession and control of the puck. (Two very key words/criteria in 80.1.)

Let's assume that the puck that was struck by Matt Cooke with his high-stick did not enter the net after the puck had contacted the arm of NY Ranger defenseman, Michael Sauer. (Even though Sauer made a movement with his arm/hand to contact the puck it deflected off him and this is NOT deemed to be possession and control.) If the puck, following this deflection off Sauer went to any Penguin player including Matt Cooke then the whistle would immediately blow under violation of this rule. The resulting face-off would take place in the neutral zone closest to the Rangers blue line.

Some might say but rule 80.1 (ii) states that 'a player of the defending side shall bat the puck into his own goal in which case the goal shall be allowed.' Bat is purely in reference to high-sticking of the puck and is further supported by 80.3 which states, 'A goal scored as a result of a defending player striking the puck with his stick carried above the level of the crossbar and enters the goal, this goal shall be allowed.'

I now take the naysayers to rule 78.4-Scoring a Goal which in part states, “A goal shall be scored if the puck is put into the goal in any way by a player of the defending side. The player of the attacking side who last touched the puck shall be credited with the goal but no assist shall be awarded.”

The previous violation of the Matt Cooke high-stick of the puck supersedes this rule. Common sense would dictate there is no way that Matt Cooke, as the last player to touch the puck with a high-stick could be credited with the scoring of a goal. The only way Cooke could be credited with the scoring of a goal in this case as the last attacking player to touch the puck would be it Sauer clearly gained possession and control of the puck and shot or deposited into his own net. This would eliminate the high-stick of the puck violation by Matt Cooke.

Lastly, I refer you to rule 80.3—Disallowed Goal: When an attacking player causes the puck to enter the opponent's goal by contacting the puck above the height of the crossbar, either directly or deflected off any player or official, the goal shall not be allowed. I have already established that the motion that Michael Sauer made with his arm in no way constitutes possession and control and as such the puck was deflected off Sauer and into the net.

In summation all you lawyers, the only way that a legal goal could have resulted on this play was if the high-sticking of the puck infraction had been waived off through possession and control being established by the non-offending team (NY Rangers) and the puck was then legally deposited into the Rangers goal past Henrik Lundqvist.

Referee Dan O'Halloran was bang on with his call on this play and now you are as well.

Footnote to This Day in History:

On Nov. 30, 2003 at Madison Square Garden in a game between the NY Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs I set a new milestone award for NHL referees when I officiated my 1,500th regular season game. In a pre-game ceremony with my family on the red carpet at the zamboni entrance Bill Daly, the deputy commissioner of the National Hockey League and friend presented me with a Tiffany crystal. Mark Messier, captain of the Rangers unveiled a beautiful piece of artwork that my wife, Kathy had commissioned to depict four of the greatest players I had the privilege of skating with on NHL ice, of which Mess was one.

I was joined in that game by fellow former referee (and son-in-law) Harry Dumas, along with linesman Pat Dapuzzo and Hall of Fame linesman Ray Scapinello.

Pat Quinn was the coach of the Leafs and as I was being applauded by the crowd and players on both benches, linesman Ray Scapinello skated over to Pat and said, “Come on Pat, this is Fraser's 1,500 regular-season game and you're the only one in the building that isn't applauding him.”
Scamp told me later that Pat gave a feeble clap and responded with a grin, “One thousand, four hundred and ninety-nine too many, as far as I'm concerned!”

Have a great day, everybody...