Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What is up with the refs not calling goaltender interference in Saturday night’s game against Colorado and allowing that goal to count?

What is goaltender interference?  Goaltender interference is a penalty that is called where a player is found in the goal crease when the opposing goaltender is establishing his position in the same area.

According to the NHL rulebook, rule #69 states “this will result in a minor penalty to the offending player. If a goal is scored as a result of a player obstructing the goaltender, the goal will be disallowed and a minor penalty assessed at the referee's discretion. In leagues where goaltender interference isn't an official penalty, a charging penalty is called instead.

I’m bringing this up because at the 1:32 mark of the second period of Saturday night’s game, there was a very questionable play which lead to a goal for the Colorado Avalanche (and stopping the Wild’s shutout streak against them this season).

The following is from the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo (link to article here):

“Twelve periods and 240 minutes of hockey now this season, and the only goal the Avalanche has scored against the Wild in four losses (outscored 12-1) arguably should have been wiped out by referees Chris Rooney and Dean Morton tonight.

Just 1:32 into the second period, a Maxime Talbot dump-in ricocheted awkwardly off the glass, into the crease and pinned under Devan Dubnyk’s right pad. Cody McLeod came charging in trying to jam at the puck and pushed Dubnyk over the goal line.

The ref blew the play down signaling no goal. But they went to review, and the NHL Situation Room correctly determined the puck lodged under Dubnyk’s pad when it went over the line. Tying goal.

However, Dubnyk’s pad only went over the line because McLeod pushed him over the line. Before it got to video review, Rooney and Morton probably should have disallowed the goal. That part of this was not reviewable.”

I did watch the game on Saturday night and from the replay video that was shown on TV (on FSN North), Cody McLeod CLEARLY pushed Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk back into the net with the puck lodged under his right pad (the puck couldn't be seen in the video replay that was shown). Goaltender interference SHOULD have been called on McLeod according to the rule I have stated at the beginning of this article and the goal should NOT have been allowed and should not have been reviewed by Toronto to allow for that bogus call to stand. 

Devan Dubnyk gave this statement in a post-game interview:

“The ruling, I guess, was that McLeod had nothing to do with me going into the net, which is somewhat mindboggling…It didn’t seem to matter in the end. For us to respond like that after a goal that probably shouldn’t have counted, that’s a sign of a great hockey team.”

This is one example of plenty regarding crappy and shoddy officiating on the part of the NHL refs. There were plenty of examples from just this game that could be used, but this could end up being one lengthy article. 

In addition to the mess that was the one "allowed" goal by the Avalanche, the NHL announced McLeod and Avalanche Captain Gabriel Landeskog were both fined by the league for their antics in the last seconds of the game. McLeod was fined $3,091.40 for entering the game with less than 10 seconds for purposely starting an altercation. Right after the face-off (with about 8 seconds left on the clock), McLeod body-checked Wild forward Mikael Granlund, then engaged in a fight with Wild forward Charlie Coyle. McLeod received a 2 minute minor (for unsportsmanlike conduct), a 5 minute major for fighting, and a 10-minute game misconduct penalty. McLeod should have also been given an instigator penalty (which would have resulted in Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy a significant fine and a possible suspension). 

Gabriel Landeskog was fined $5,000 for reaching around a partition separating both the visitors' bench and the Avalanche's bench and punching Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu (while both players were on their respective benches) with about three seconds left in the game. Landeskog was issued a misconduct penalty. 

Both fines are the max fines allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement. However, these fines now put McLeod and Landeskog on the NHL's radar because of their conduct. It is unknown if Patrick Roy was fined at all as a result of this. If he wasn't, he should have been since he basically allowed the McLeod incident to happen in the first place. (According to Michael Russo in another article, Roy was expected to be fined by the league).

The season series finale between these two teams is this Sunday night (March 8) at the Xcel Energy Center. 

Devan Dubnyk was named the NHL's First Star of the Month on Sunday (March 1). He is the first Minnesota Wild player to be named First Star of the Month (the only other Wild player to have been named to the NHL's Three Stars of the Month was Josh Harding back in November 2013). Dubnyk also made is 21st consecutive start for the Minnesota Wild last night against Ottawa in their 3-2 shootout win, which is a franchise record. 

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