NHL: Should Goaltender Interference Be Reviewable?

Cory Ducey@@duceycoAnalyst IIIMay 1, 2012

CBCSPORTS Video Freeze Frame form NESN.com
CBCSPORTS Video Freeze Frame form NESN.com

In this season, we have seen goaltender interference that have been made and missed.

The unfortunate part of the calls and non-calls, is that some has resulted in game changing goals.

Let's look at Rule 69.1:


69.1 Interference on the Goalkeeper - This rule is based on the premise that an attacking player’s position, whether inside or outside the crease, should not, by itself, determine whether a goal should be allowed or disallowed. In other words, goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease. Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact. The rule will be enforced exclusively in accordance with the on-ice judgment of the Referee(s), and not by means of video replay or review.

For purposes of this rule, “contact,” whether incidental or otherwise, shall mean any contact that is made between or among a goalkeeper and attacking player(s), whether by means of a stick or any part of the body.

The overriding rationale of this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player. If an attacking player enters the goal crease and, by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

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 purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

If a defending player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by an attacking player so as to cause the defending player to come into contact with his own goalkeeper, such contact shall be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, and if necessary a penalty assessed to the attacking player and if a goal is scored it would be disallowed.


Here are some examples of the bad calls/non-calls


Chicago Blackhawks, Jonathon Toews

In Game 6, Toews was well out of the crease area and Phoenix Coyotes goalie, Mike Smith inexplicably throws his arms at Toews to push him away from the net.

The result was a power play for the Yotes, and they scored on the power play. It changed the dynamics of the game putting them up 1-0 in the latter part of the second period.  The goal also turned out to be the series winner for Phoenix.

Although the game was a final score of 4-0, the 1-0 lead changed the Blackhawks game plan as they had to open up in an attempt to tie the game in the final period.


Ottawa Senators, Nick Foligno

Foligno was called on a goaltender's interference call in which it should not have happened.

On the replay, one can see he was not only knocked off stride by one, but two New York Rangers players before colliding with Rangers' netminder Henry Lundqvist.

The Rangers were already early in a power play situation, but to go on a 5-on-3 and get the go-ahead goal, it was a series changer.

On the ensuing power play, Mike Richards did the damage.

Conversely, with just 39 seconds left of the game, Senators' Chris Neil speared Lundqvist to knock him off the net and Jason Spezza scored to get the game within one.

In one game we had a bad call and a non-call.

One would say that they balance each other out, but I disagree.

The Richard's goal was the game changer as Ottawa had to play from behind so their game plan was altered.


Washington Capitals, Mike Knuble.

The Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals were on a tight series, and what I feared happened.

I have stated in the past that this game could end on a bad play, but I did not expect it to be on a bad non-call.

As Mike Knuble, a former Bruin, was racing to the Boston net, he slides right into Tim Thomas and prevented him from freely moving in his crease.  This resulted in Thomas getting pushed deep into his crease, and it opened up the right side for Joel Ward to backhand the puck in the net.  This was a non-call that not only gave the game to the Capitals, but the series to move onto the next round.


Some have argued that Rule 69.6 applied:

69.6 Rebounds and Loose Pucks - In a rebound situation, or where a goalkeeper and attacking player(s) are simultaneously attempting to play a loose puck, whether inside or outside the crease, incidental contact with the goalkeeper will be permitted, and any goal that is scored as a result thereof will be allowed.

In the event that a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck by an attacking player after making a stop, the goal will be disallowed. If applicable, appropriate penalties will be assessed.

In the event that the puck is under a player in or around the crease area (deliberately or otherwise), a goal cannot be scored by pushing this player together with the puck into the goal. If applicable, the appropriate penalties will be assessed, including a penalty shot if deemed to be covered in the crease deliberately (see Rule 63 – Delaying the Game).


Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser, who has long advocated adding goaltender interference to the video review situations, wrote about his play on his TSN blog:

“Knuble was not pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with Thomas,” he wrote. “It matters not if the contact on Thomas by Knuble was deemed to be deliberate or incidental other than a minor penalty that might result. What matters most is that all the elements of rule 69.1 were violated and the goal should have been waved off.”


Phoenix Coyotes, Martin Hanzel

In an odd play, Nashville Predator David Legwand may have goofed on a hot potato puck in the hand, but Hanzel skated through the crease and took the legs out from Pekka Rinne to take him completely out of the play for Radmin Vrbata to put the Yotes up by two goals.

Some will say that Kevin Klein pushed him into Rinne, but on the replay, the contact to Hanzel was minimal at best and should not have caused him to flop in Rinne and take his right leg out so forceful.

Personally, I think the goal counted.  Klein's move to push Hanzel was stupid enough to create a situation to take his goalie out of the play to begin with, as the rules would apply this as incidental contact.

Nonetheless, this is definitely one of those types of calls that are borderline and should be reviewed to ensure that the officiating has the call right.


Philadelphia Flyers, James Van Riemsdyk

After Daniel Briere's kicking goal was disallowed (rightfully so), Briere scored shortly later, but Van Riemsdyk cut across the front of the crease and clearly made contact with Martin Brodeur's stick to make significant contact.

When contact was made, Brodeur was right on top of his crease and Van Riemsdyk was outside of the paint.  There was sufficient contact so that the stick was not planted on the ice and allowed the shot to go through Brodeur's five hole.

This was also a borderline call and upon the replay at about the 1:20 mark, there may be enough contact for the goal to be overturned.

Van Reimsdyk was not in the paint, Brodeur was and did make contact with him to prevent free movement. I can see how this call can be missed by the on-ice officials.


My Take

The goalies were told in so many words, that they are going to be better protected in their crease.  If that was the case, these situations I have listed above and so many more that occurred should allow video review.

Far too many games have been influenced by bad calls or non-calls as of late because players are aggressively crashing the crease with far too often results ending in, not only a bad goal, but injury to one of the most important players that will get you far into the playoffs.

When the goal that is scored could be the difference of a game, or a series, one may not want to see their team knocked out of the game or of the playoffs, but above all, you do not want to see it end on a bad call or a non-call.

So I leave the question to you.  Should video review be allowed for goaltender interference?

I look forward to your insight.  As always, keep it civil.

This is Cory Ducey saying, "Hit Hard, But Keep It Clean"


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