More on the NHL and 'distinct kicking motion'

Well, there’s no chance this is going away anytime soon. Forget the
conspiracy talks, the calls today have been for more consistency in the
decisions the NHL makes regarding game-changing goals and plays like
this one.

It doesn’t help that when the media and fans start to resource
the NHL rule book on matters such as this, we come across this

“A puck that deflects into the net of an
attacking player’s skate who
does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal. A puck that
is directed into the net by an attacking player’s skate shall be a
legitimate goal as long a no distinct kicking motion is evident.”

is focused on the “distinct kicking motion” aspect of the rule. Did
Henrik Sedin put the puck in the net with a “distinct kicking motion’?
Not at all, but the motion of his skate was certainly the contributing
factor for redirecting the puck into the net.

The NHL is fine with
shots deflecting off skates and into the net, they’re okay with a puck
hitting a skate on it’s way it if  player is standing in the crease. But
a pass from behind the goal line that is put directly into the net with
a skate that propels the puck forward? That is what the NHL says it
doesn’t want.

There is precedent of this as well. The
Dallas Stars had a goal called back
against the Canucks this
season, when Brenden Morrow’s skate pushed the puck into the net. He
wasn’t even looking at it, probably had no clue it was there, but the
motion of his skate propelled the puck into the net. It was ruled a
no-goal by the War Room in Toronto.

So that brings us to Monday
night when Daniel Sedin, as he is crashing the net, directly changes the
trajectory of the puck with his skate. Talking
to Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
series supervisor Kris King explains
why this was ruled a no goal:

“First we determine where the pass came from,” series supervisor Kris
King explained Tuesday morning. “The only way it could go in with the
amount of speed on the pass was that it was kicked.

“They ruled that it was not a redirect, and not a deflection. It was
the movement of his foot going forward that propelled the puck over the

And forget about intention. The NHL does not make a decision on these
plays based on intent, as it’s likely that Sedin knew exactly what was
happening as he drove the net.

The NHL is saying that a DVD was sent to teams that spells out this
part of the rule, using video to show what is and is not a goal when
this rule is used. It’s also important to remember that the rule book we
have online is not the word-for-word rule book the NHL uses on a day to
day basis.

So now there’s calls for the wording to be better defined, for the
“distinct kicking motion” part of the rule to either be taken out or
have the rule, as it’s actually being enforced, better worded in the
rule book.

So while the conspiracy theorists will rant, the rest of us are left
with an NHL that is still playing catchup with defining the rules it
uses to enforce the game. Should these sorts of goals be allowed? Some
say yes, while others say that opening up the game for goals to be
allowed of skates is a dangerous precedent.  I say, let’s just get the
rule book squared away to what the NHL is actually going by, then we’ll
move forward.

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    Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

    Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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    Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

    Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

    Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

    Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

    We’ll start to find out tonight.

    Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


    Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

    Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

    Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

    Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

    Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

    Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

    Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

    Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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    Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

    “We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

    So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

    That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

    The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

    “My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

    That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

    Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen