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Fraser: To wave goal off or not? Judging play in the crease

Kerry Fraser
5/5/2014 3:19:04 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 cmonref@tsn.ca.

Hi Kerry,
 
In Game 2 of the Canadiens-Bruins series, could you explain how the interference to Tuukka Rask by Brandon Prust, which appeared to prevent him from getting back into position and be ready for Mike Weaver's shot (which produced Montreal's first goal) differed from the situation you described in the first series when Carey Price was interfered with and - as you answered then - was correctly waved off as a no goal?
 
Thanks!
Rhonda McClure

Rhonda:

The primary difference between the two plays, both of which resulted in significant contact with the goalkeepers inside their crease, is that Brandan Prust was pushed/cross-checked from behind onto Tuukka Rask by his defenceman (Andrej Meszaros) which negated interference on the goalkeeper as spelled out in rule 69.1 (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 purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.) Prust had no opportunity to avoid contact with Rask after being shoved from behind by Meszaros. It is also important to note that Prust did not delay in getting up off Rask and then immediately vacated the goal crease.

On the other hand, Alex Killorn of the Tampa Lightning initiated contact with Carey Price when he crashed the net with a 'deke' and attempt to jam the puck past Price. (David Desharnais was behind Killorn but did not push, shove or foul the Tampa player so as to cause contact with Price as Meszaros did to Prust!) Following contact with Price's skate and pad Killorn rotated and fell into the back of the net. If the puck were to have entered the net on this segment of the play the goal should be disallowed based on the goalie interference initiated by Killorn.

Alex Killorn suffered double jeopardy once the second incident of contact in the blue paint was clearly initiated by Price when the goalie launched himself into Killorn as the Tampa player was attempting to vacate the crease. This action by Price demonstrates the flaw in rule 69.3 which states; "If a goalkeeper, in the act of establishing his position within his goal crease, initiates contact with an attacking player who is in the goal crease, and this results in an impairment of the goalkeeper's ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed." Following this 'allowable contact' initiated by Price the goalie was unable to regain his position to defend the subsequent shot and the referee disallowed the goal.

There is definitely a need to tweak rule 69.3 when a goalie initiates contact with an attacking player. It might even require that the referee(s) exercise their best judgment to determine the 'intent' of the goalkeeper's actions when contact is initiated inside the crease. If contact is legitimately initiated "in the act of establishing his position" to defend a shot then the goalkeeper should be entitled to that protection. If contact is initiated by the goalkeeper for any other purpose, as Carey Price's actions might indicate here, then a goal scored following this "incidental" contact should be allowed to stand.

Given the glove hand/arm contact initiated inside the crease by goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist onto the stick of Evgeni Malkin, perhaps the referees are already exercising their judgment in this area? Based on the current rule James Neal's goal that rolled down Lundqvist's back following his contact with Malkin should have been disallowed.

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 cmonref@tsn.ca!


You can also follow Kerry Fraser on Twitter at @kfraserthecall!

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