Mason Raymond caused quite a stir with his spin-o-rama shootout move Saturday night.
The Toronto Maple Leafs winger scored on Craig Anderson, and the Ottawa Senators and others weren’t sure if it should have been a goal. The NHL put out a story on its website clarifying the situation on Sunday night.
Talk over the summer surfaced as general managers recommended making the 360-degree spin-o-rama illegal in shootouts, and it was approved by the board of governors. The NHLPA executive board did not give it the go-ahead, something Senators captain Jason Spezza was aware of in the wake of the Raymond controversy.
Ottawa coach Paul MacLean described a conference call he was on with GM Bryan Murray and their counterparts around the league in which the participants were told that a spin-o-rama attempt “would be seriously reviewed and you’re taking a chance that it would be an illegal play and the goal would be disallowed.”
That call happened Sept. 30, according to NHL executive vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell.
“What I said to the managers on our call, to managers and coaches, to make sure to inform the players that if they do try this move that we will be examining it closely and they could very well have a goal taken back,” Campbell said, as quoted by the league’s site. “It could happen if 1) there is interference on the goaltender or 2) the puck stops completely or 3) their motion stops completely and/or reverses.”
MacLean explained that he thought Raymond came to a full stop and that the puck went backwards before going forward towards the net. Officials told the Senators that the goal counted because the puck was always moving forward.
The NHL rule book states in section 24.2: “The spin-o-rama type move where the player completes a 360 (degree) turn as he approaches the goal, shall be permitted as this involves continuous motion. However, should the puck come to a complete stop at any time during the shot attempt, the shot shall be stopped and no goal will be the result.”
There was a brief delay after Raymond’s shootout goal as it was looked at but nothing more came of it.
“If the puck stops, or if the player’s momentum stops, and particularly reverses, then there’s an issue,” Campbell said. “The problem is if you’re skating forward, you can pull the puck back, or stickhandle, and that will stop (the puck) at times, or a curl-and-drag sometimes will stop it. There is some confusion and misinterpretation.”
The confusion made it a topic of conversation after the Senators blew a two-goal lead before losing 5-4 in the Maple Leafs’ home opener.
“I think it’s a very unfair play for the goaltender for the guy to come in and blow snow on him,” MacLean said, explaining why he thought Raymond’s attempt shouldn’t have counted. “(But) I’m only a fisherman from Nova Scotia, so I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’.”
Campbell said the spin-o-rama move has been discussed at general managers meetings in the past and that “there wasn’t a lot of appetite for them.” MacLean’s concern about goaltenders appeared valid.
“When you spin around and put your butt into the goaltender or if you go (into) the crease, you are dangerously close to being called for goaltender interference; particularly if you do make contact with the goalie in his crease, it would be disallowed,” Campbell said.
Toronto coach Randy Carlyle didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
“News to me,” he said. “It went in the net. What didn’t you understand?”
What Raymond understands is that he’s had some success with the spin-o-rama. That’s why he did it Saturday.
“It’s one that seems to raise some debate and there’s going to be a little more of it,” Raymond said. “If I can use it, why not?”
Raymond’s move generated plenty of debate, and it’s likely not the last time the spin-o-rama move will have some opposing players and coaches unhappy. In providing some clarity on the rule, though, the NHL gave an update that should prevent teams from believing on old or incorrect information.
Anderson said he didn’t get an explanation. But he at least seemed at peace with the goal.
“Just clap your hands,” the goaltender said. “You’ve got to say, ‘Congratulations, good play.'”
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version reported that the competition committee recommended making the 360-degree spin-o-rama illegal.