On Monday, referee Chris Lee allowed a very controversial goal by Justin Williams on Alex Stalock to stand. It appeared the puck was stopped beneath the Sharks goalie until Williams pushed into him with his stick and knocked it in the net. It seems ridiculous to allow a puck to be propelled past the goal line by pushing a goalie, but it was still debatable because of how some people interpreted Rule 69.6.
Two nights later, it happened again, only this time it was a much more egregious case of goalie interference. How was Colorado’s first goal against Minnesota in Game 7 allowed to stand?
Here is the goal by Nick Holden. Keep an eye on Jamie McGinn who comes toward the crease and just falls into Darcy Kuemper.
Interference, right? McGinn makes it impossible for Kuemper to have a chance at the save.
The outrageous thing is, the ruling on this goal never had anything to do with the obvious goalie interference. You can see the referee initially wave off the goal, but that was a quick reaction to a potential high stick. Here is how the NHL explained the call:
At 2:52 of the first period in the Minnesota Wild/Colorado Avalanche game, Colorado's Nick Holden shot the puck into the Minnesota net in a legal fashion. The in-zone referee initially waved his arms after the puck crossed the goal line as a reaction to a potential infraction for high-sticking the puck. The on-ice officials then huddled regarding the play to discuss if it was a good hockey goal and agreed the goal would stand. Good goal Colorado.
Huh? Interference was not even considered.
After Williams’ goal, we looked at Rule 69.3, which states: If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.
As was the case for Williams’ goal on Monday, this one wasn’t reviewable. Again, it becomes obvious that every goal should be reviewable. They’re too important, especially in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and bad calls that award them leave a team defenseless.
But, seriously, twice in three nights? We don’t want to go back to the toe in the crease rule, but goalies deserve a little more respect for their position than this.