A truly bizarre sequence of events unfolded late in the second period of the Tampa Bay Lightning-Boston Bruins game on Saturday afternoon, ending with an enraged Tuukka Rask chucking a broken skate blade across the ice.
Here is the situation: With the Bruins on the penalty kill and holding on to a 3-1 lead, Rask lost one of his skate blades due to a Yanni Gourde shot and was unable to move around his crease the way he normally would if he had two functioning skates.
He pleaded with the officials for a whistle and ultimately did not get one. During this time a Mikhail Sergachev shot from the point ended up beating Rask — partly because he could not move normally, and also because he was too busy looking for a whistle instead of paying attention to the game — to bring the Lightning to within a goal.
At that point Rask picked up his dislodged skate blade, showed it to the official, presumably yelled some things, and then threw it across the ice. That is not safe!
You can see the entire sequence in the video above.
As angry as Rask was, the officials seemed to have followed the rule correctly here.
Rule 14.1 under “Adjustment to clothing or equipment” states the following:
“Play shall not be stopped nor the game delayed by reasons of adjustments to clothing, equipment, skates, or sticks.
The onus of maintaining clothing and equipment in proper condition shall be upon the player. If adjustments are required, the player shall leave the ice and play shall continue with a substitute.
No delay shall be permitted for the repair or adjustment of goalkeeper’s equipment. If adjustments are required, the goalkeeper shall leave the ice and his place shall be taken by the substitute goalkeeper immediately.”
Tough break, but nothing anybody can really do about it. Skate blades fall out for skaters on occasion and they struggle to get off the ice as play continues around them. No different for a goalie.
The only time play gets stopped for an equipment issue is if a goalie loses his mask.
If he wanted a whistle his only options would have been to either dislodge his mask or taken a page from the Henrik Lundqvist/David Leggio playbook and knocked the net over.
This is not the first time Rask has become angry and resorted to throwing things during his professional career. He also had that moment in the American Hockey League when he flipped out after a game and threw a milk crate on the ice.
UPDATE: Here’s the official explanation from the NHL Situation Room:
At 13:22 of the second period in the Bruins/Lightning game, Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask’s left skate blade fell out prior to Mikhail Sergachev’s goal. There is no rule for Referees to stop play for a broken piece of equipment, regardless of whether the equipment belongs to a goaltender or a skater. The lone exception is when Referees may stop play after a goaltender has lost his helmet (as outlined in Rule 9.6).