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Watching the Canucks' recent road trip to Los Angeles and Anaheim, I was sickened at how many time Luongo and Lack were run.
I would like you to comment on two particular incidents in each game involving Dustin Brown, and then Corey Perry were absolutely despicable.
In both cases, the players came barreling to the net and when feeling the slightest contact from the defender launches their bodies into Luongo and Lack (in Brown's incident, he actually does a twist in the air). How is a goalie supposed to make the save while trying to protect themselves from being run?
Do you really think that this is good for the NHL?
Does the NHL look into these as supplementary discipline? I'd be ok with a penalty to the defender and the forward but there should not be a goal. It's kind of similar to calling a hook and a dive where the dive is an obvious egregious offence.
You mentioned in an earlier article, that you would have given Reilly Smith a penalty for running Luongo after scoring a goal. In the weekend games against L.A. and Anaheim, Luongo and Lack were (in my opinion) bumped into without getting a single call their way.
Luongo and Lack were two of the players who showed up for the games and were in position to steal points for the Canucks when they were both run into. In the game against L.A., I found it bemusing that Brown did not get a penalty after his goal left Luongo down and out. Do you agree that it was a similar situation to the Smith/Luongo incident? If so, when will you start sending your articles to referees to pay closer attention on drives to the net?
For Lack, I was in the crowd and missed the number of the Duck who got him. But I can see that some would argue that a Canuck player didn't give the Duck any space to avoid a collision. As there seems to be no fear of players driving to the net, is it time to bring back the steel pegs to stop players from driving to the net hard? It's not like the magnets are helping out much (i.e. Stamkos broken leg) and it might prevent players taking runs at goalies.
I love reading your articles and I have a couple of questions for you.
I was watching the Canucks play the Kings on Saturday night and watched as Dustin Brown and two other Kings seemed to run over Luongo with no penalties called. As I watched the game, on all three occasions the Kings were "bumped" towards the net and near Luongo, however it appeared to me that the King players made a point of hitting Luongo rather than trying to avoid contact, especially on the Brown goal. Luongo is now out with a "lower body injury" seemingly caused by Brown running over Luongo. Then tonight, I watch Palmieri get bumped by the Canuck defenseman and Palmeiri absolutely run Lack over. How are these plays/hits on the Canuck goalies not a penalty? I have noticed that this year especially, all goalies across the league, seem to be "fair game" to be run over, even when they are in their creases, yet the rules state that players are not allowed to hit a goalie when they are in the goalie is in their crease.
David, Gareth, Steve and all Canuck fans:
We know that the goalkeeper, as the last line of defence, can often be the difference between winning and losing. In the game with the Kings, Roberto Luongo stood on his head as the Canucks were outshot 49-28. At the other end of the ice, while Jonathan Quick wasn't kept quite as busy he made the big saves when called upon. None were bigger than two successive 'game savers' off the stick of Daniel Sedin with 34.3 seconds remaining and Luongo on the bench for an extra attacker.
My point here is that goalies are often the most important player on a team and should be protected by the rules that the referees are expected to enforce. If questionable, I would prefer to see referees err on the side of calling penalties to protect the goalkeeper.
In some cases, I would agree that attacking players use the slightest contact from a defender to deliberately propel themselves into the goalkeeper. In situations such as this the attacker will often make himself "bigger" to initiate contact with the goalkeeper or redirect and accelerate the falling action from less than reasonable force exerted against them to make more solid contact with the goalie. A penalty should be assessed in all cases when an attacker does not make a reasonable attempt to avoid contact with the goalkeeper when he has the opportunity to do so.
It boggles my mind however, when I see a defensive player hit or push an opponent into their own goalkeeper from close quarters making it virtually impossible for the attacker to avoid contact. Once an attacker is vaulted toward the goalie he must protect himself and in doing so will often attempt to minimize contact by altering his body posture while flying through the air.
Since your questions did not provide me with a time on the game clock when these "despicable" incidents occurred, along with my desire to get a totally unbiased perspective I watched the Canucks-Kings game from start to finish. I then was able to scan the Ducks game and find the separate plays involving contact in the crease from Corey Perry and Kyle Palmieri on Vancouver replacement goalkeeper Eddie Lack. I provide you with my independent findings. I hope you don't get lost in the detail.
In L.A., both teams were setting up tight to the edge of the opposing goal crease throughout the game. In the first period the predominant contact in the crease was exerted against Jonathan Quick by Canuck players. The first incident of note occurred with 15:36 remaining when Drew Doughty bumped Mike Santorelli from behind into Quick. Then with 12:17 left in the first, Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kessler went hard to the net and jammed at Quick's pads and eventually pushed the goalie and the puck across the line as rookie referee Mark Lemelin correctly waived off the goal. Several situations were present where players of both teams avoided or drastically minimized contact with the goalies.
The first situation where I deemed a goalkeeper interference penalty was warranted occurred with 7:37 on the clock in the second period. Ryan Kesler nudged Jarret Stoll as he attacked the net from along the goal line and Stoll used to contact to continue on a path into the crease and roll over Roberto Luongo. The referee was on the opposite side of the net (once again behind the goal line!) and did not react. This would have been a perfect time to send a message to avoid the goalkeeper whenever possible.
Tyler Toffoli of the Kings was fouled by Chris Higgins in a similar location along the goal line to where Stoll had been nudged. Toffoli legitimately fell into the crease but bailed and tucked to minimize impending contact with Luongo.
Now comes the big question mark in the game when Dustin Brown scored the go-ahead goal for the Kings early in the 3'rd and made significant contact with Roberto Luongo. FYI, I broke this one down frame-by-frame not to question the referee's decision but only to provide you with an accurate take on the play. As Brown followed his shot near the top of the crease he started to square up his posture and skates in preparation for a stop motion. At that instant Mike Santorelli slipped his right leg between the skates of Brown and contacted Brown's right shin just below the knee. Based on the force and location of the contact a leg whip caused Dustin Brown's body to rotate in a spin toward Luongo. The "roll" that Brown executed while airborne I could argue was in an attempt to minimize and avoid direct contact with his shoulder on the Vancouver goalie which could have been more significant. As a result of the leg contact applied by Mike Santorelli at the top of the goal crease Dustin Brown was propelled into the goal crease and Roberto Luongo.
Following Brown's contact on Luongo, Tom Sestito of the Canucks appeared to retaliate by skating straight into Jonathan Quick inside his goal crease after play was stopped. A scrum resulted but no penalties were assessed. This was another missed opportunity to send a message when Sestito was not penalized for goalkeeper interference on the play!
Moving forward to the game with the Anaheim Ducks there is no question in my mind that Corey Perry used the shove/cross-check motion from Kevin Bieksa at the top of Eddie Lack's crease to make contact with the Canuck replacement goalkeeper. Perry should have received a minor penalty for goalkeeper interference! Not only did Perry fall in the direction of Lack he appeared to extend his arm in search of his intended target.
Kyle Palmieri on the other hand was propelled into Lack with significant force by Canuck defenceman Dan Hamhuis and did not deserve a goalkeeper interference penalty. Breaking this play down we can see Palmeri beat Hamhuis wide following a neutral zone face-off and proceed to attack the net parallel to the goal line. With Hamhuis tight on his back, Palmieri released a shot from the bottom of the end zone face-off circle. Both players followed the shot toward the crease. With Hamhuis still physically engage on his back quarter, Palmieri positioned his skates in a side-slide stop motion before reaching the goal crease. Kyle Palmieri's upper body posture suggests that he was also pushing back away from the crease and against Hamhuis.
Dan Hamhuis is visible with his knees flexed, his back arched and driving Palmieri forward with two hands toward the crease and goal post. The final pressure that Hamhuis exerted with his left glove hand was to push and twist Kyle Palmieri. This force caused the Duck forward to be launched and turned in the air toward Lack. While airborne, Palmieri continued to rotate his body slightly to avoid the goal post and thereby exposed his back to the impending contact with the goalkeeper.
In the two situations where Eddie Lack was contacted by Duck players in his crease, I have to seriously question the containment tactics used by both Vancouver defensemen. The force they exerted on their opponents was in the very direction of their goalkeeper from close range. While Corey Perry deserved a penalty and Kyle Palmieri did not, the end result left their goalkeeper sprawled on the ice and susceptible to potential injury.