Fraser: Bruins' second goal shouldn't have counted

Kerry Fraser
5/9/2013 3:11:38 PM
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Hi Kerry,
Love your column!
I have a question about the 2-2 goal in the Leafs-Bruins game Wednesday night, when David Krejci made contact with Mikhail Grabovski into the James Reimer, and the puck went off Grabo and in. I'm not saying it shouldn't have been a goal, but shouldn't it have been reviewed? It looked like goalie interference by knocking an opposing player into the goalie. Is there such a thing?
Thanks, Craig Pinhey


Let me go one step farther; I'm saying the Bruins' second goal (video link) should have been disallowed due to interference created by David Krejci who was ultimately credited with the goal.

James Reimer made the initial save on a shot off the stick of Brad Marchand from the right slot offering up a subsequent rebound that popped into the air. Mikhail Grabovski had first position at the goal crease and prior to
gaining possession to clear the puck, Grabovski was contacted/checked from behind by David Krejci with a reverse bump as he crashed the crease. The illegal contact by Krejci caused Grabo to fall into the goal crease, thereby depositing both the puck and Leafs goalie James Reimer into the net.

Two potential rule options apply to David Krejci's action on Mikhail Grabovski at the crease that resulted in a goal.

Assuming Grabovski did not yet have possession of the puck a minor penalty for interference under rule 56.2 can be applied.  ("A minor penalty shall be imposed on an attacking player who deliberately checks a defensive player, including the goalkeeper, who is not in possession of the puck.")

Rule 69.1 can also be applied given the fact that James Reimer's ability to defend his goal was greatly impaired through the resulting contact in his crease caused by David Krejc. ("If a defending player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by an attacking player so as to cause the defending player to come into contact with his own goalkeeper, such contact shall be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, and if a necessary a penalty assessed to the attacking player and if a goal is scored it would be disallowed.") 

Even if you come to the conclusion that the puck passed over Reimer's shoulder just prior to being contacted by Grabovski the fact remains that Reimer's "ability to move freely within his crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player" existed as also stated in 69.1. The interference that resulted from David Krejci's subtle crease crash manufactured a Bruins dirty goal.

Let me address a different situation from the Ducks-Wings game where the puck entered the net along with Red Wings goalie, Jimmy Howard and resulted in an immediate wave-off by Referee Wes McCauley. As Kyle Palmieri joined the rush he used a free-hand grab to slingshot past Detroit defenceman Brian Lashoff just inside the Wings blue line. Lashoff gave chase and shoved Palmeiri to the ice from a good 10 feet in front of Jimmy Howard as Emerson Etem threw the puck at the net from the corner. Howard controlled the puck as he was crashed into by the sliding Palmieri; placing both Howard and the puck into the net. 

This dirty goal was immediately and appropriately waved off by McCauley when he ruled the play dead prior to the puck entering the net. There is a fine line between the Refs ability to judge the play under two different applications found in rule 69—Interference on the Goalkeeper.  One results in a legal goal while the other is disallowed.

First rule 69.1 tells us that, "If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for the purpose of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact."  The push from Lashoff occurred some distance from the crease and it may or may not be reasonable to expect that Palmeiri could have made some effort to slow his slide/crash into Howard. I saw a reverse angle look where Paleiri was sliding on his hands and knees with his eyes focused on Jimmy Howard.

The second option falls under 69.6, "In the event that a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck by an attacking player after making a stop, the goal will be disallowed. If applicable, appropriate penalties will be assessed. 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 together with the puck, the goal can be permitted." Note the use of "can" as opposed to "shall" in deferring to the Refs judgment on the play.

The sling-shot grab that launched Kyle Palmieri past Brian Lashoff just inside the Red Wing blue line provided an unfair advantage on the rush. As Lashoff tried to regain position he ultimately pushed Palmeiri to the ice. One could argue that both plays, if detected, might be worthy of an interference call. One was no worse than the other and both were either let go or somehow undetected.

What I believe is the most important and overriding factor on this play is that the Referee quickly determined that Jimmy Howard had made the initial save and therefore ruled the play dead prior to being crashed into by Kyle Palmieri.

This split second decision was made by the Referee who took into account all aspects of the play and appropriately waved off a dirty goal without hesitation. The crew of Referees then conferred with one another following this call as they have been advised to do throughout these playoffs.  

Both plays, once again highlight the need for a rule change allowing the Referees to implement video review when goalkeeper interference is suspected.  As I have said it is the most difficult call for the Refs to make.

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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