Fraser: A look at Backlund's goal against the Oilers

Kerry Fraser
1/28/2013 4:07:07 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry Fraser wants to answer your emails at!

What is the deal with goaltender interference? On Thursday, we saw Edmonton robbed of a goal due to a questionable goaltender interference call (which you cleared up in your last article). Now on Saturday, we see Calgary able to keep their goal even with a similar situation, teammate pushes opponent into his goaltender. Sam Gagner got tied up due to Quick moving away, but when Dubnyk gets hit and cannot move to make the save, it is allowed. It seems like to refs are going against Edmonton!

Michael I. Trevisanutto


Hi Kerry,

Thank you for the explanation on the disallowed Gagner goal against the Kings. But why was Backlund's goal allowed? Thanks for the explanation,

Dave Fong

Michael and Dave:

Many of you did not agree with my rationale as to why RNH's goal must be disallowed against the L.A. Kings when Sam Gagner took advantage of Rob Scuderi's East-West contact and then proceeded to move North-South into goalkeeper Jonathan Quick. This might have been a result of a less than definitive replay we showed you or through plain old partiality?

Whatever your position on that one was, I am quite sure Oiler fans will be in agreement with my call on the goal (video link) that Calgary Flames forward, Mikael Backlund was awarded at 5:16 of the first period on Saturday night. I am going to remain "consistent" with my call - this goal should have also been disallowed by the same officiating crew that huddled on Thursday night in Edmonton. The final call should have been NO Goal and No penalty to Backlund. The resulting face-off should have been conducted at the neutral zone dot nearest the Edmonton Oilers blue line.

Let me clarify something for you Michael; Backlund was not pushed into Oiler goalkeeper, Devan Dubnyk by Ryan Smyth or any other Oiler teammate. Mikael Backlund followed the puck into the crease and crashed the net (and Dubnyk) though his own initiative. If that isn't enough reason for some to understand why this goal must be disallowed let me provide the technical reasons to support this call.

Rule 69.3 Contact Inside the Goal Crease - If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his crease and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

More specifically, Mikael Backlund's actions on this play are best described by the bold type in Rule 69.6 Rebounds and Loose Pucks - In the event that a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck after making a stop the goal will be disallowed. If however, in the opinion of the Referee, the attacking player was pushed or otherwise fouled by a defending player causing the goalkeeper to be pushed into the net with the puck, the goal can be permitted.

The play is now under review! Devan Dubnyk made the initial save as Backlund then crashed the net without any assistance from Oiler Ryan Smyth, who followed in close pursuit. As Backlund drove hard into the crease he made significant contact with Dubnyk which pushed the goalie backward and deep into his crease. This action dislodged the puck from Dunyk following the initial save and propelled the puck across the goal line in clear violation of Rule 69.6.

The play went to video review only to determine if Backlund had kicked the puck into the net.  This replay should have been a moot point if the other three officials were able to provide a clear determination of goalie interference from their vantage point as had been the case in the previous game on Thursday night.

On the Backlund play the referee in the end zone, primarily responsible for making this call, was positioned behind the goal line near the end boards. From this deficient position his sight line went through the net and the back of the Oiler goalie. Had he moved his feet and adjusted his position along the goal line (or preferably a half step in front of the line) he would have had an unobstructed view to see Backlund initiate contact with Dubnyk, ultimately knocking the Oiler goalie off the puck and back into his crease.  Had this been the case I am confident the goal would have been immediately disallowed by the referee.

Until the referees have the ability to utilize video review to determine legitimate goals following any contact with the goalkeeper, we will continue to see incorrect decisions made that impact games and ultimately the final standings.

At this time, please let me introduce you to Angie LaCorte.

Angie is the little girl I wrote about last Monday that received the Claude Giroux jersey literally off the back of the Good Samaritan Flyers fan. While the fan insists on remaining anonymous, Angie's mother, April was so touched by you outpouring of love and kindness through responses in this column that she has given us permission to provide a link to Angie's face page on the Children's Organ Transplant Association. You can now put the face of this little angel to your ongoing prayers for her recovery, to see what a loyal Flyers fan she is, and click on the icon to make a donation if you feel so inclined. Thank you for sharing with us Angie and God Bless you always.     

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser is an analyst for the NHL on TSN and That's Hockey 2Nite on TSN2. As one of the league's most recognizable senior referees, he's worked 1,904 NHL regular season games and 261 playoff games during his 37-year career.

Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at!

You can also follow Kerry Fraser on Twitter at @kfraserthecall!

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