Friday, October 31, 2008

Analysis of a No Goal call

So, I mentioned in my last game report a Marco Rosa no-goal caused by "unintentional goaltender interference" by Matt Kassian, and I want to go back and look at this thing. Ultimately, the Aeros didn't need this goal to get the win, but it sure would have made a nice night for Rosa and I'm guessing Kass wasn't feeling real good about it either.

My experience with goalie interference is thus:

  1. When you're new to playing hockey, they stick you on the wing and tell you to camp in front of the net to try and bang in rebounds. As you get a little more confident, you learn that you can have fun irritating the goalie by screening them, trash talking them, making fun of their ridiculous new pimp 'stache, etc.

    So, I found out a few weeks ago how much fun it is to get up in the opposing goalie's grill and I was hanging out right on crease line, IN the paint. I go back to the bench and they start in on me: "You have to stay out of the crease. If a goal goes in while while you're in the crease, it won't count." Oh heavens. Okay. Stay out of the crease. Check.

  2. Then there's the most recent, famous no-goal call on Thomas Holmstrom in the playoffs. Now, this was a picture perfect screen and nothing more if you ask me. But they called it goaltender interference and waved the goal off.

Yeah, so that's all I've got. Hey, I'm from Texas, man. WTF do I know from goaltender interference? You can bet I'm going to be asking our novice league ref about this on Sunday though.

Anyway, Fred, hockey photog extraordinaire, emails me and says, "Sweet Jesus, girl! You're blinder than the ref!" (Okay, I'm paraphrasing. He was a lot nicer than that.) And he sends me the rule:
Just pretend there's a big gray block of text here with a bunch of caveats about this and that regarding goaltender interference. I tried to read it but... meh..., so I read the first paragraph and found what I wanted. Pretty much the same way I got through English classes my whole life. Sorry, Mrs. Lee. No, I didn't read Beowulf.
But here's why I think the ref was perhaps overly strict (which was pretty much a theme for that game anyway... as I mentioned, he called EVERYTHING), but not necessarily wrong:
69.1 Interference on the Goalkeeper - This rule is based on the premise that an attacking player's position, whether inside or outside the crease, should not, by itself, determine whether a goal should be allowed or disallowed. In other words, goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. 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.
Now, before I go into how I saw this go down, look at a couple of pictures Fred took of this goal.

Here's Kassian, having fallen into the goalie, trying now to get to his feet and get the hell out of the way, because everybody in the building knows Rosa's about to put the puck in the net. Click to make it bigger. Thanks to Fred Trask for use of the photos.

Now, this is "two seconds later" as Kassian has JUST gotten up and the puck, as you can see, is hitting the back of the net and the ref is about to wave his arms decisively, "NO GOAL!" And I'm sitting in the press box saying, "They're not gonna count that. No goal." and then watching the crowd, vividly remembering how painful that is when you're there as a fan. You jump up and you scream and clap and the world is perfect for a few seconds and then, "WHAT? Hey ref, you SUCK! You're f***ing blind!!!" Detachment is a blessing at times like this.

So, here's my take: What I thought, and what I assume the ref thought, was that just because Kassian had managed to get the majority of himself out of the crease upon the puck going in the net, his position just a second or two earlier interfered with the goalie's ability to move freely in his crease and get into the position he needed to be in (which, from where Rosa was shooting in the high slot, should have been at the top of his crease and not way deep in the net).

But because Kassian was wallowing in his crease and keeping LeNeveu from recovering fully... not only not getting into the ideal position, but also not even getting back up on his skates... the interference was still "in play" when when the goal went in.

And because Kassian's interference with the goalie was clearly not intentional and he was trying mightily to get out of the paint ASAP, it was clearly not penalty-worthy. There may have been something about penalty worthiness in all that rule stuff, but I'm gonna say the ref followed the spirit of the rule here regarding intention. (I made that last part up.)

Now, you could make the case that the goalie should have been able to get up more quickly, but look at that first picture again. He's IN the net, at least halfway, and Kassian is no small peanut... he's taking up that crease, so LeNeveu can't get up until he has a bit of room to move forward. But by then, he probably sees Rosa has wound up and there's a shot coming so he needs to just do the best he can with where he's stuck at the moment, which is, unfortunately for him, much too deep and on his knees (heh...)

You could also make the case that I'm a notorious goalie sympathizer and if a decision is on the fence, I'm taking the goalie's side every time.

Or, you could make the case that I really don't like to be wrong and, man, I was pretty definitive saying that was a good call. I have to at least make my case if I'm gonna be that definitive about it, right? Go big or go home.


Fred  October 31, 2008 at 11:29 AM  

I think the ref decided that the contact with the netminder was not egregious enough to be a penalty and that Kassian certainly tried to get out of the crease ASAP but (and I disagree with the ref here) that LeNeveu was unable to make the save due to that earlier contact by Kassian.

LeNeveu chose not to get up on his skates because he was looking for the puck and he's a butterfly goalie. I do think he probably would have been further out in the crease to cut down the angle on Rosa if there had not been any contact but he also had plenty of time to do so after Kassian scampered out of the crease.

As you fortunately it did not make a difference in the outcome.

We've seen far, far worse than this w/o any call so far this year.

Sweet pics though ... that Fred guy rocks ;)

Ms. Conduct  October 31, 2008 at 11:33 AM  

Thanks Nick.

Yeah, that Fred guy knows his way around a camera. ;)

I guess the point we ultimately disagree on is whether LeNeveu had time to recover. I don't feel like he did.

Can't think of a time in my life when I have agreed with the ref on a controversial call against my team. Traitor!

Fred  October 31, 2008 at 11:42 AM  

LOL, obviously the ref thought the same thing Ms C.

Press row makes you grow stripes :P

Ms. Conduct  October 31, 2008 at 12:06 PM  

Apparently. In my "Press Box For Dummies" book, they don't warn you...

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