Fraser: A look at Alzner's 'glove' work against Canucks

Kerry Fraser
10/29/2013 12:49:12 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at!

I'm disgusted by the consistently inconsistent officiating in the league these days. A penalty in the first game of the preseason should be a penalty in Game 7 of the Cup final. It should not have anything to do with which teams or players are involved, what the score is, or anything else.
In last night's game between the Canucks and the Capitals, with 6:52 left in the second period, Washington defenceman Karl Alzner clearly directed his dropped glove at puck carrier Daniel Sedin in the Capitals' zone. This is obvious interference and a clear violation of Rule 53.6. The on ice officials were right there and their view was unobstructed. As per the rulebook (, the Canucks should have been awarded a penalty shot, but there was no call.
Can you explain to us long-suffering fans what's going on here? Is this a simple officiating error? Is it so-called "game management?" Is there some other rule or policy involved that we don't know about?
C'Mon Ref!
Gilan Israel
Jerusalem, Israel
Hi Kerry,
In the Washington vs. Vancouver game Oct 28 at 6:55 of the second period, while the Canucks are on a power play, a Caps player sweeps a discarded glove right at Daniel Sedin who is handling the puck at the end boards. Daniel Sedin didn't let it affect him but how is that not an automatic penalty under rule 53.2?
Victoria BC
In Monday night's Capitals and Canucks game, Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner lost his glove on the play and couldn't retrieve it since the Canucks had possession and he didn't want to leave his man open.
About 20 or so seconds later, Alzner skates near his glove and shoots it towards Daniel Sedin who had the puck. I know if a player shoots a stick at the opposing team it's an automatic penalty shot, so I was wondering if the same rule applies with gloves and if it does why was there no call?
Matt Parsons
Hey Kerry,
Thanks for the blog, I thoroughly enjoy your unique perspective on things. Congratulations on your long and great officiating career.
My question pertains to the Capitals vs. Canucks game on Monday evening. There was a momentduring the game when Karl Alzner lost his glove and proceeded to shoot it at a Canucks forward who was controlling the puck behind the Washington net. Is there a rule regarding shooting pieces of equipment at an opposing player?
Thank you,
Trevor Tabsldo
Kerry - clarification about shooting a stick or a glove at a player with the puck. This happened during a Canucks power play and the ref had a clear view at it, everyone in the building did.
Tanner Noble
Tanner, Trevor, Matt, Greg, Gilan, all Canuck fans including my friend John Garrett:

Let me assure you there is no conspiracy theory at work that prevented the correct call from being made when Karl Alzner deliberately shot his glove at Daniel Sedin who was in possession of the puck behind the Washington net.

As always, I wish to provide you with accurate and knowledgeable insight as to what a Refs options are on this specific play (video link) relative to the playing rules in addition to the expected judgment/standard of enforcement. I'll also answer your overriding question; how in the "H" did the Ref miss this one?

I extend a warm "Shalom" to our friend Gilan Israel from Jerusalem. Please click on the NHL Rule link found in Gilan's very thoughtful question above if you failed to do so and read rule 53.2 and 56.7.
What jumps out for most fans will be the broad but seemingly clear language of 53.6 which calls for a penalty shot to be assessed when a defender throws or shoots any object or piece of equipment at the puck or puck carrier in his defending zone.

For your insight into the interpretation and expected standard of enforcement the Refs have been directed to follow, I refer you back to 53.2; "When a player shoots or throws a stick or any other object at the puck or the puck carrier in the defending zone but does not interfere in any manner with the puck or puck carrier, a minor penalty shall be assessed." It is imperative that the object shot or thrown directly alters the movement of the puck or directly affects the decision and motion of the puck carrier.

Neither of these situations was present. Daniel Sedin didn't flinch when the glove landed between his skates against the end boards. Instead, Daniel proceeded to make his intended pass away from traffic to Dan Hamhuis who had pinched down low at the corner goal line from his point position. Given the resulting circumstance as described herein a minor penalty for interference (53.2) should have been assessed. Before I explain how it was missed by the Referee I need to advise you how this interpretation and addition to rule 53.2 came about. It resulted from a play at the Joe Louis Arena involving Brendan Shanahan and me as the referee.

There was seconds remaining in the game with a face-off in the Detroit end zone to the right of the Wings net. I forget who the visiting team was but the Wings were down by a goal and Brendan Shanahan was setup on the wing nearest to the center of the ice.  The attacking center won the face-off cleanly back to his right defenceman positioned in the center of the blue line. Shanahan took two strides toward the shooter then realized he wasn't able to get out quick enough to block the shooting lane so he threw his hockey glove at the puck. As the glove slide at the puck the shooter implemented a minor toe drag allowing the projectile to safely slide into the neutral zone before he teed up a shot on goal.

I stood in shock at the events I had just witnessed. There was no rule to assess a minor penalty under 53.2 in the book. For a penalty shot to be called there had to be some form of direct interference take place. Since the D-man got his shot away I allowed the play to continue and the game quickly ended.

Then Referee-in-Chief Andy Van Hellemond and I spoke on the phone immediately after the game about the need to craft a rule to specifically allow for a minor penalty to be assessed for interference in the event that a penalty shot was not warranted. The additional language to rule 53.2 was implemented the following season.

So how did the Referee miss Karl Alzner shoot his glove at Daniel Sedin? Check out the viz (you might even have to slow it down) and follow not only the action but especially the head of referee Ian Walsh in the corner to view the play exactly as he did.

What you will see is that when Hendrik Sedin had the puck on the sidewall at the hash marks the Ref's vision was focused to the front of the net where he observed Caps defenceman John Carlson shove Ryan Kesler to the ice from behind but not worthy of a penalty. The puck was then passed by Henrik to his brother Daniel who had circled from the opposite side to behind the net. Karl Alzner was high on the play and the closest Capital to Henrik prior to him making the pass.

Referee Walsh then altered his posture and sightline to follow the path of the puck onto Daniel Sedin's stick behind the goal line against the end boards. With this sightline Walsh did not see the glove being shot by Alzner as he moved toward Daniel Sedin. The glove arrived on the scene between Daniel's skates and did not appear to interfere with the puck or the player's movement. Since the Ref did not see how the glove arrived there he was unable to raise his arm and call the minor penalty for interference that was deserved as per rule 53.2. Instead of keying on Daniel Sedin he should have split his vision by taking a wide visual perspective of the play which included Karl Alzner as the closest defensive player to the puck carrier. It happens quickly and the moment is lost.

This is exactly how this one played out. I wonder if it brought back any memories for Brendan Shanahan as it did for me!

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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