Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In Tuesday's game between the Canucks and the Islanders, Zack Kassian scored a goal that was disallowed as it was deemed goaltender interference. The two referees had a meeting and they came back with no goal. Clearly it was not goalie interference and the replay clearly showed it wasn't. My question is: is the play reviewable or not? I think it is.
I beg to differ with you — goaltender interference was CLEARLY committed when Zack Kassian bumped his Canuck teammate Mike Santorelli into (and onto) Evgeni Nabokov in the blue paint before depositing the puck past the felled Islander goalie. Goalie interference was so obvious on this play it should have been a no-brainer for the referee, even from his position deep in the corner, to have immediately waved the goal off. As you watch this play keep in mind the wording of rule 69.3 (If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.)
At the present time Rule 69—Interference on the Goalkeeper is not reviewable. The fact that the Referee did signal a good goal by pointing at the net resulted in a check and balance procedure that followed to quickly and correctly overturn the initial call. A conference between the Officials is required when contact/interference with the goalie has taken place or is suspected to have occurred by at least one member of the crew.
On this play at least one (but most likely all) of the other Officials witnessed the interference on Nabokov and a conference was initiated to report their version of the play to the Referee that was allowing the goal. After a very brief consultation between the four officials an announcement was quickly made to disallow the goal based on incidental contact with the goalkeeper. The contact was truly incidental in nature and no penalty was deserved other than the goal being disallowed.
The procedure was followed to the letter and rendered the correct decision. In this case it was an easy call to make from any of the sightlines the crew had (save and except for one perhaps). Very seldom are they this clear cut as multiple players crash the net or when a defensive player initiates contact that propels an attacker into the goal crease. It is without a doubt the most difficult call for a referee and his colleagues to get right.
For these reasons I have consistently stated that the Referees on the ice should personally have the advantage of reviewing the play (video review) from a monitor placed at ice level in a secured position. Refs are paid to make this call on the ice so allow them every advantage to ultimately make it correctly. Only if they are allowed to review the play will they have the same opportunity that the rest of us have to determine if and how goalkeeper interference took place.
Games are won and lost with the scoring of dirty goals. This will continue, even with the checks and balance procedure in place, until the Referees are allowed to utilize video review in this specialized situation.
It's a no-brainer!