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Hello Mr. Fraser,
I'm just wondering about the interference call to Matt Stajan in the second period of the Calgary/Phoenix game, where he played the puck as he left the penalty box. I've never see a call like this before and was just curious on what the call was?
Matt Stajan and Flames Coach Bob Hartley don't have a skate to stand on following the correct assessment of an interference penalty when Stajan knocked the puck off the stick (video link) of Phoenix defenceman Keith Yandle with one foot remaining on the penalty bench.
Matt Stajan clearly violated Rule 56.2 which states - "A minor penalty shall be imposed on any identifiable player on the players' bench or penalty bench who, by means of his stick or his body, interferes with the movements of the puck or any opponent on the ice during the progress of the play. In addition, should a player about to come onto the ice, play the puck while one or both skates are still on the players' bench, a minor penalty for interference shall be assessed."
This is not an infraction that happens very often, as you suggest Steve. During my 30-year NHL officiating career I had the occasion to call this penalty just one time. The player and coach in that game looked as dumbfounded as Matt Stajan and Bob Hartley did when the Referee correctly applied rule 56.2 for his poke check of the puck with one skate remaining on the penalty bench.
Following the assessment of this penalty Matt Stajan return to the penalty box and a face-off resulted in the Flames' zone. Phoenix centre Antoine Vermette won the draw cleanly back to defenceman Michael Stone at the point. Vermette then took the ice away from Blake Comeau as he attempted to get out to the point to check Stone. The initial detainment Comeau received from Vermette was not worthy of a penalty as both players moved to occupy open ice.
Antoine Vermette's actions crossed the line, however, when he continued to slide East-West and blocked the North-South path of Blake Comeau's as the Flame centre attempted to move toward the point. Vermette finally initiated contact with Comeau that should have been deemed interference. Comeau, upon receiving the bump from Vermette, fell down in an effort to draw the Official's attention to the fact the he was being obstructed in his route and attempt to get to the shooter at the point.
Michael Stone was able to walk the puck along the blue line for a clear shot on goal that ended up in the net.
While Bob Hartley didn't have a skate to stand on in the Stajan interference penalty the coach had a legitimate beef when Antoine Vermette interfered with Blake Comeau following the faceoff on the penalty kill.