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Fraser: Explaining calls involving Brodeur, Gustavsson

Kerry Fraser

2/8/2012 6:13:56 PM

Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry Fraser wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!

Hi Kerry,

With seven minutes left in the Jets/Leafs game Tuesday night, the Leafs had a delayed penalty coming when the puck was shot into the Leafs zone. Jonas Gustavsson came outside the trapezoid - behind the goal line - to gain possession for the penalty. Why would there not be a penalty to Gustavsson for playing the puck outside the trapezoid on that play!? I believe it should have been a 5-on-3 for Winnipeg, and it looked like Claude Noel was yelling for it as well. Am I wrong?

Thanks,

Mike

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With 6:52 remaining in the Toronto/Winnipeg game on Tuesday night, Gustavsson came out of his net and touched the puck to stop the play because Crabb was getting a penalty.  However, he touched the puck behind the goal and outside of the trapezoid.  Why did Gustavsson not receive a delay of game penalty for playing the puck in this area?

Blair

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Hello Kerry,

I'm curious to hear your opinion in regards to the ruling of goaltender interference during the closing seconds of the Devils/Rangers game.
Both sides keep arguing over the matter. From what I saw, the ref called the penalty before the puck ever went in the net. It also appears that Gaborik did little in terms of trying to stop and Volchenkov seems to be hooking him away from the crease not pushing him in. I say it's a good call at a crucial part of the game. Personally I'm slightly biased being a Jersey fan and also coming from the perspective that a lot of goaltender interference penalties go uncalled in the NHL. What do you think?

Thanks,

Doug

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Hello Kerry,

I was watching the Devils/Rangers game, and as always when it involved the Devils/Rangers, it all came down to the last second and the last call/non-call. With 3.5 seconds left, it looked like the Rangers scored the game tying goal, expect the ref waved off the goal. It was explained that Anton Volchenkov pushed Marian Gaborik into Marty Brodeur and that is why the goal was waved off. A lot of people are saying the refs made the right call and some are saying they made the wrong call, while others have brought up the point that the refs are more likely to make the call since Ryan Miller was run over and taken out earlier this season. Watching the replay when it panned out, the ref made the call even before Artem Anisimov put the puck in the net. What was the thought process leading up to deciding if he was going to make the call or not and would you have made the same call. 

As you know, all the readers of the articles can leave their opinions and this has been a hot one, I promised I would submit the question to you to put an end to it!

Mike, Lincoln Park, NJ

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Gustavsson and the Trapezoid

Mike and Blair:

Both of you have made the right call when Jonas Gustavsson touched the puck outside the restricted area to stop play on the Joey Crabb delayed holding penalty. The Leafs would have been forced to kill a two-man disadvantage had Gustavsson been assessed the delay of game penalty that he deserved under rule 27.8. (Should the goalkeeper play the puck outside of the designated area behind the goal line, a minor penalty for delay of the game shall be imposed. The determining factor shall be the position of the puck. The minor penalty will not be assessed when a goalkeeper plays the puck while maintaining skate contact with his goal crease.) 

Aside from this being a missed call, Gustavsson committed a double brain cramp on the play. With Crabb's delayed penalty pending, the Jets iced the puck. Icing was negated the instant that Gustavsson stepped outside of his goal crease in an effort to play the puck. Had the icing been completed, a face-off would have resulted in the neutral zone outside the Leafs blue line.

Cramp number two occurred when Jonas touched the puck outside the trapezoid and killed the play with Luke Schenn standing beside him.

A third brain cramp occurred on the play when Gustavsson was allowed to get away with the infraction.

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Gaborik and Goalie Interference

Doug and Mike:

No matter who you are cheering for, this missed call had a major impact on the game and reinforces my call for video review by the referee on contact with the goalkeeper where a goal results. (Notice I said by the referee, not the situation room!)

I have maintained this position ever since I attended a Leafs-Panthers game (Oct. 2010) in the ACC. Late in that game with the score tied, Colton Orr came out of the corner and ran over the Panthers goalkeeper as the shot came from the point. All officiating eyes were focused on the puck at that point in time. 
 
To add insult to injury, the puck hit Orr's skate as he sprawled over the goalkeeper and was given credit for the game-winning goal. The end result to this play was the recommendation by Florida GM Dale Tallon to institute a coach's appeal.

If a "coach's appeal" is too radical, let's make contact with the goalie a reviewable situation; at least where a goal results or is being waved off. I can tell you firsthand just how difficult it is, in real time and with traffic going to the net, to determine intent (deliberate or incidental) or if any action by a defending player caused the contact to result on the goalkeeper. If the referee happens to be on the opposite side to where contact was initiated (as referee Dan O'Rouke was in this case), it is often next to impossible to get an accurate read on the play.

That is exactly what happened last night in Madison Square Garden in the dying seconds of the game with the Devils leading 1-0. As the Rangers attacked the net, Marian Gaborik attempted a full blown stop with snow flying in front of Martin Brodeur

Initially, it might appear that Gaborik just ran out of real estate and crashed into Brodeur, which would result in a goalie interference penalty. From referee O'Rourke's position, a little bit behind the goal line on the near side to Gaborik, that is exactly how it would appear to the ref in real time.

As I saw the reverse look of the play, I noticed Gaborik's left skate break from his natural stopping motion and slide marginally to the left, causing an unnatural fall into Brodeur with Anton Volchenkov exerting backdoor pressure on Gaborik from the opposite side.

Upon closer inspection, we see that Volchenkov places his stick between the legs of Gaborik and the pressure exerted causes the NY Ranger to fall and crash into Brodeur. The clear evidence is seen when the players attempt to untangle themselves in the crease. Vochenkov's stick blade can be found stuck in the plastic blade holder of Gaborik's left skate!

If anyone didn't think the contact from the back side was significant to put Gaborik into Brodeur, Volchenkov's stick placement should provide the smoking gun!

What does all this mean? The Rangers certainly lost at least one point last night. Beyond that, it should highlight for you what I have known for years, ever since we had to deal with the ridiculous toe-in-the-crease standard that was rewritten into Rule 69 - Interference on the Goalkeeper. The refs need help with this call.

While the present standard is much more sensible than dealing with Brett Hull's toe-in-the-crease, it hasn't made it much easier to the referees to enforce. In cases such as last night, it is even more difficult for the referee to determine how contact results.

Is this type of play something that we want to see eliminate a team from playoff competition or result in the presentation of the Stanley Cup? I think not.

I know how hard it is to determine these plays in real time. Give the referees the same benefit that you and I have to slow it down and look for the smoking gun.

Place a monitor at the timekeeper's bench where they already have a communication device and give them a second or third look to determine the legitimate scoring of a goal.

After last night, John Tortorella just might agree with me.