Fraser: Why the Tootoo goal should have counted

Kerry Fraser
3/21/2013 7:26:17 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!

Hey Kerry,
Love the column! In Wednesday night's Red Wings/Wild match-up,
a first period Detroit goal was waved off.
Jordin Tootoo fired the puck into traffic, it was deflected, swung at by Drew Miller, and ended up in the back of the Minnesota net. The official emphatically waved off the goal based on Miller's high stick. Replay revealed that the puck was instead batted in by Minnesota forward Dany Heatley and should have been allowed.

Because of the call, the play was never reviewed in Toronto and the tally was ultimately left off the board. Given the official's position on the ice, it was an honest mistake. My question, though, is why don't officials, in the case of goals, err on the side of calling it a good goal on the ice? If Miller HAD made contact with the puck above the cross bar, the goal would be easily overturned. But by overzealously waving the goal off, the play was never even reviewed.

Keep up the great work!

Mark A. Davis

Just watching the Detroit-Minnesota game and there was a puck that was gloved by Dany Heatley in a pile of sticks in front of the net, so the referee waved it off as a high stick but the replay showed that Heatley punched it in out of the air. Why wasn't this reviewed, especially when a goal was scored? It didn't even seem to be reviewed in Toronto, they went right to the faceoff!

Derek Mahlitz

Mark and Derek:

This potential goal was just one inch away from being placed under video review once Referee Dave Jackson deemed that the puck was struck with a high stick by Red Wing forward Drew Miller. Given the perspective that Jackson had on this play I can absolutely understand how he felt the puck was struck by the stick of Miller when in fact it was Dany Heatley's 'swinging glove' that made contact with the puck and caused it to travel toward the open corner of the Minnesota goal.

The 'gloved puck' was about to enter the net by virtue of its own momentum when Jordin Tootoo contacted the puck on the goal line and pushed it into the net with his stick. Since Tootoo touched the puck prior to it crossing the goal line, Referee Jackson deemed that a high stick pass violation had resulted and play would be stopped immediately, thereby nullifying the goal. An Officials decision made on a puck that has been passed to a teammate with a high stick cannot be placed under video review.

If on the other hand, had the puck crossed the goal line prior to being touched by Tootoo, video review could have been utilized to confirm or overturn Referee Jackson's initial call on the ice to disallow the goal. The Referee would have still waved the goal off thinking that Miller had put the puck directly into the net with a high stick but video review would overturn that decision with the knowledge that Miller did not make contact with the puck.

Since the Referee deemed an illegal pass had taken place as opposed to a puck batted directly into the net with a high stick, there was not an option for him to signal a goal. (Or err on the side of calling it a good goal on the ice and then having video review take over as you suggested Mark.)

The standard operating procedure is that the Referee on the goal line MUST make a decision on the play when the puck enters the net as demonstrated with a clear signal. He must either point to the net to signal a goal or utilize an emphatic wave off as Referee Jackson did on this play. The reason for this is in cases where video review can be utilized but returns an inconclusive verdict the Referee's decision on the ice will stand - right or wrong!

Jordin Tootoo and the Detroit Red Wings were just an inch away from having the proper decision rendered by video review to allow Tootoo's centering pass from the corner to stand as an unassisted goal.

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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