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I am sometimes baffled by the goal crease. Does it mean anything?
Last night, Ottawa's Kaspars Daugavins attempted to score on a shootout using a backyard rink move. At the end he was completely in the crease with the puck still on his stick trying to jam it past Boston's Tuukka Rask, who made a great save.
If the puck had gone in, would it have been a legitimate goal? Could you shed some light on the matter please?
Shootout wins could very possibly become the deciding factor as to whether some teams make the playoffs. This causes players to continually design and perfect nontraditional offensive moves that are deemed 'legally entertaining' yet often provide an unfair advantage over the goalkeeper. Kaspars Daugavins provided the best example of this yet with his "ringette" maneuver that would have resulted in a legal goal if he had gone five-hole and slid the puck past Tuukka Rask.
The normal rules of engagement with regard to interference on the goalkeeper apply on a penalty shot/shootout attempt even when the shooters outrageous move resembles something from Circque du Soleil! While Daugavins' tight move deep inside Tukka Rask's goal crease inched closer to violating existing rules, the line has not yet been crossed, nor has direction been given for the referees to step up and wave off a goal that would appear on all the highlight packages.
Steve, the acceptable standard of enforcement on a penalty shot/shootout continues to work to the advantage of the shooter in spite of the wording of Rule 69 - Interference on the Goalkeeper. The overriding rationale of this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player. If an attacking player enters the goal crease and, by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper's ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.
We also know from Rule 69.3 that if an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is within his goal crease and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. A goal would also be disallowed under this rule if Tukka Rask, in the act of establishing his position within his goal crease, initiated contact with Kaspars Daugavins who was in the goal crease and this resulted in an impairment of Rask's ability to defend his goal.
As we read this rule, the advantage within the goal crease is certainly tipped in favour of the goalkeeper. The reason a legal goal would have resulted on this play is because Tukka Rask did not stand his ground or attempt to establish a position within his crease once Daugavins entered the paint with that unorthodox deke. Instead, Rask continued to slide in a backward motion toward his goal line to defend against the shot. Daugavins narrowly avoided making contact with Rask as the attempt was made and complied with the penalty shot rules for the shooter - puck kept in continuous motion toward the goal - and allowable spin-o-rama move. There is not a referee in the league that would have disallowed the goal on this play.
I spoke with an active NHL goalkeeper today and asked him what he thought of Kaspar Daugavins shootout. He viewed it as a pretty "ballsy" move. He conceded if Daugavins had scored, it would have been the highlight goal of the year. On the other hand, my friend said he would have been 'pissed' if this display of 'showmanship' from a teammate failed and the next guy up for the other team scored the game-winner, as was the case. I asked how he would have best defended against this type of play. The goalie told me he would have taken Daugavins' legs out with a poke check and staked pads once the attacker spun backwards into the top of the crease; a move the goalie has employed on three occasions.
In doing so, my friend (the current NHL goalie) might have not only stopped the puck but would have given cause for the referee to disallow a potential goal under Rule 69.3 following contact within the goal crease.