Referees cause confusion after disallowed goal

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I’m not here to say that a disallowed goal was the ultimate doom for
the Flyers, but there’s no doubt it was the turning point in the game.
Simon Gagne’s goal would have put the Flyers ahead 2-1, in a game they
were playing fairly well in and one they desperately needed to stop
sliding down the Eastern Conference standings. Instead, the officials
made perhaps the worst goal-reversal calls I’ve ever seen and the Flyers
lost 4-1.

To set the table for this debate: The Flyers skated
into the zone on a three-on-two, and looked to have a goal when Simon
Gagne slid a rebound past a sprawling Marc-Andre Fleury, who had come
well out of his crease to make the save on the initial shot. Fleury had
been knocked over by Ville Leino on the play, and referee Dan Marouelli
immediately called it a good goal, with no hesitation. There was also no
penalty called on the play.

Then, after a lengthy discussion
Marouelli made this call: “The goal has been disallowed due to
incidental contact with the goaltender. No penalty, no goal.”

Umm,
what?

We break down this travesty of officiating after the jump.

To
start with, here’s the excerpt from the NHL rule book on goaltender
interference. Rule 69.1:

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
play is not reviewable, per the rule. It is left completely up to the
officials on the ice.

First off, it’s more than obvious that
contact is made outside of the crease. See below:

NoGoal1.jpg

So contact is
made outside of the crease, so the first part of the rule does not
apply. What about the intentional part of the rule? Was Ville Leino’s
contact intentional or deliberate?

NoGoal2.jpg

Above, you can see how Leino is
putting on the brakes as he overskates the puck. You can see the puck
at his feet, and how he’s turning his head to look at MAF.

From a
different angle (below), you can see that Leino has not been able to stop and
sees he’s about to collide with Fleury. Is this intentional? Tough to
say.

NoGoal3.jpg

But it doesn’t matter, because according to the referees the
contact was incidental.

“The goal has been disallowed due to
incidental contact with the
goaltender. No penalty, no goal.”

So if the contact was
incidental, and outside of the crease, the goal should be allowed
according to NHL rules. Simon Gagne is even more confused, especially after
talking with Marouelli after the play:

“At first,
he called it a goal. After reviewing the play on the
scorebard he changed his mind that we had somebody on their goalie.
That’s the first time I’ve seen that,” said Gagne.

“I asked him, ‘are you allowed to look at the scoreboard?’ He said I
would be happy if the same thing happened to us.”

If
this is true, if Marouelli looked at the scoreboard to overturn a call
he previously made, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the play not
being open for video review? And if the contact was deemed to be such
that a goal should be disallowed, shouldn’t a penalty have been called. If he’s confused about the ruling on the play, he can always call Toronto to get clarification on how such a play should be called.

You
can’t take a goal away for incidental contact outside of the crease.
There’s just nothing in the rules that call for it.