Fraser: The goalie interference call on Chicago's Shaw

Kerry Fraser
5/21/2013 4:05:16 PM
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Hey Kerry, would love to hear your explanation that distinguishes Andrew Shaw's goalie interference in Game 3 (not enough to warrant a penalty, just enough to erase the goal?) from the entire body of work of Tomas Holmstrom's career scoring goals in the blue paint.  Not to mention the nudge Shaw gets from the Detroit defenceman and he still doesn't even contact Howard!?!  That was a real momentum swinger in the game.
How do you see it?
Campbell Mayer

Was the disallowed Blackhawks goal that would have tied the game the right call or do you see it more as a makeup call for blowing a possible boarding call on the Patrick Kane goal?

Thanks man. Keep it up!

Ryan Morrill

Campbell and Ryan:

The Referee's decision to disallow Andrew Shaw's goal could be supported under the "letter of the law/rule"!

As I looked at this play (video link), the only contact between Jimmy Howard and Shaw was initiated by the Wings goalkeeper when he chopped at Shaw's skates a couple of times once the Hawk ventured into the top of the blue paint and in
advance of the shot on goal. It is also true that there was minor contact between Shaw and the Detroit defenceman as the two players entered the goal crease. It might be worth noting that the Detroit defenceman sealed off any backdoor exit potential for Shaw if the Hawk considered this as an option; which is likely a reach for us to consider but none the less remotely plausible.

Since no contact was initiated or resulted from Andrew Shaw on Jimmy Howard, the single thread under which goalie interference could be determined (again the letter of the rule) is found in 69.3—If an attacking player establishes a significant position within the goal crease, so as to obstruct the goalkeeper's vision and impairs his ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. For this purpose, a player "establishes a significant position within the crease" when, in the Referee's judgment, his body, or a substantial portion thereof, is with the goal crease for more than an instantaneous period of time. 

I don't really believe that Jimmy Howard's vision was obstructed but it could be said that Andrew Shaw did establish a significant position within the crease. Since you mentioned Tomas Holmstrom, once he was flagged and put on the Ref's radar screen, I have seen more than one goal disallowed when Tomas had his skates clearly outside the blue paint but established a significant portion of his 'rear end' inside the crease and stuck in the face of the goalkeeper! Those calls surprised me at the time they were made. I felt they were an overreaction to the spirit and intent of the interference on the goalkeeper rule. I was likewise surprised by the decision last night to disallow Andrew Shaw's goal last night when Jimmy Howard made the initial save and the rebound deflected off Shaw and into the net.

I won't speculate as to whether the Referee was still thinking about a potential boarding call against Niklas Hjalmarsson nor whether the whistle could possibly have been blown prior to Patrick Kane's goal as Johan Franzen lay on the ice in a heap in the Chicago end zone until well after Kane's goal. Those potential questions could only be answered in the private thought process of the Referee.

What I will offer is that when Niklas Hjalmarsson struck Johan Franzen directly on the numbers of his back from close proximity to the end boards, a boarding infraction occurred. Since Franzen was able to put his hands up as protection against a full face-plant into the boards only a minor penalty for boarding was deserved.

This series is certainly turning nasty. Several battles in front of and behind the net resulted in hard slashes, cross-checks and punches to the head between combatants. Sometimes unsportsmanlike conduct penalties even resulted. Holding on the other hand was always called whenever a player used his free-hand to gain an advantage or momentarily detain his opponent!

I cite the last game played in the San Jose—Los Angeles series as one that was very well officiated. The game had great intensity throughout with hard hits being allowed throughout and a consistent standard of enforcement was adopted. The players were allowed to play on the edge throughout the entire game but when infractions occurred there was no reluctance to call them. The two penalties called in the dying minutes of regulation with the score tied were "must call" infractions that were not avoid by the Referee.

That standard, my friends, is the model that I hope all the Refs will follow throughout the balance of these playoffs.    

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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