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Fraser: Should Pavelski's shootout goal count?

Kerry Fraser

12/2/2013 12:43:39 PM

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,

I would like your opinion on the Joe Pavelski shootout goal.

It appears that Pavelski comes to a stop, waits and then shoots. Should this goal have counted in the shootout? 
 
Unapologetic Ducks fan.

Kerry,

On Saturday night during the shootout, San Jose's Joe Pavelski appeared to come to a complete stop while moving towards Jonas Hiller. Immediately after stopping he shot the puck and scored the only goal (for either team) during the shootout.

I thought that the rules were that both the puck and the shooter had to keep up uninterrupted forward momentum for the goal to count?  A little clarification would be great because I'd hate to think that yet another game this season was decided by a ref's blown call, there have been FAR too many of those already.

Love the column, thanks for helping further everyone's education and knowledge about the game that we all love.

Greg Lykes

Greg and our Unapologetic Ducks fan,

Welcome to another shootout "razzle-dazzle" which should be redefined in the rule book as an NHL skills competition where anything goes. It's about time to change the wording in rule 24 to include, "any move that resembles a skilled hockey play."

The lacrosse-like whip and spin-o-rama are approved for use as skilled moves and both involve continuous motion. It might be argued that Joe Pavelski maintained a semblance of forward motion when he slammed on the brakes resulting in a forward slide and then immediately turned his blades from that sliding stop to a continuation of his glide momentum towards Jonas Hiller.

There was also an ever so slight forward rotation of the puck only detected by video replay as Pavelski executed a stickhandle move in conjunction with his sliding stop. Pavelski's stick motion, from back to front, throughout this stickhandle maneuver is deemed legal puck possession as he teed the puck up for a shot. All this allows the execution of Pavelski's shootout move to be deemed "legal" by a technicality. 

Rule 24.2 presently reads, "However, should the puck come to a complete stop at any time during the shot attempt, the shot shall be stopped and no goal will be the result."

To the naked eye in real-time, it appears that both the puck and Pavelski came to a complete stop. Slow-motion video review can provide a different picture; especially if the viewer desires all of these "hockey plays" to be deemed legal. 

My take is that an attacker is given a distinct and unfair advantage over the goalkeeper on most of these "stop and go" type maneuvers. While it might be entertaining for fans during an All-Star Game Skills Competition where there is little on the line except bragging rights, a regular season shootout is worth a point in the standings. Shootout wins can make a huge difference in the final standings for playoffs.

The integrity of the final standings is being compromised by circumventing the spirit of Rule 24 through unfair advantages shooters are being given over the goalkeepers. Short of a rule change, the referees should be empowered to kill the play whenever they determine (with their naked eye) that the puck has not been kept in motion towards the goal as the current rule states.

It would take a large measure of courage on the part of the refs to make that call, in addition to support offered from a Hockey Operations Dept. that has set the existing standard.

Don't expect a change anytime soon unless the goalkeeper fraternity revolts en masse.