NHL Goalie Interference Calls Still Remain a Mystery

As of this season, ever since a revision of the rule, goalie interference calls have been made left and right whether it’s on the referee’s own call or a coach’s challenge. These calls have been a mystery and have been called completely wrong. There have been many cases as of late that prove this rule is in dire need of a revision once more. The rule is as stated: If the attacking player impairs the goalie’s ability to move freely and play his position, then it is goalie interference. These impairs could be contact from an opposing player to a players stick. Now there have been many cases recently that have clearly displayed signs of goalie interference.

The first case is with a game between the visiting Vegas Golden Knights and the Winnipeg Jets. With the Golden Knights crashing the net, Golden Knights forward, James Neal broke his stick over the head of Winnipeg goalie Conner Hellebuyck, where Knights forward Erik Haula. Now there is clear evidence in the writing itself that this goal should be disallowed as a stick made more than just contact with the goaltender. The result of the play would be a good goal for Vegas as they would go on to win the game.

Another case was a game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings. With the Kings players crashing the net, Kings’ forward Tanner Pearson blatantly ran over goalie Scott Wedgewood where the puck easily slid into the net from another player. Now this shows that Wedgewood was not able to play his position with another player running into and laying on top of him. Yet, the call on the ice was a good goal.

Another incident following the Coyotes/Kings game was a game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Florida Panthers. With 10 seconds left to play, Red Wing goalie, Petr Mrazek was pushed over by the Panther forward Jonathan Huberdeau. The puck was then hit into the net by Huberdeau to give the Panthers the lead late in the game. Now from the writing it shows clear goalie interference, but Red Wing forward Mike Green shoved Huberdeau into Mrazek, which cancels out any goalie interference as the interference was caused by a Red Wing player, the goal on the ice stood and Red Wing head coach, Jeff Blashill was ejected. The call still remains controversial as well as many more.

A few months ago, when the season was still fairly young, a game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Toronto Maple Leafs had another goalie interference controversy. With just under 4 minutes left in the game, Leafs forward Auston Matthews had a spectacular goal as he circled the net and shot the puck over the arm of Coyotes’ goalie Antti Raanta. Arizona would challenge for goalie interference and the play would show that Leafs’ forward Zach Hyman jabs his stick into Raanta, knocking him down, where the puck then sailed into the net giving Raanta no time to regain his feet, the call was determined to be goalie interference and the goal was taken back. This is another case of the stick making contact with the goalie.

These few examples have been making fans outraged that this is even an issue. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated that “the goalie interference rule is fine as is,” but it’s the officials who are looking too closely at the tape. The rule is not fine as is. Based on Bettman, a stick breaking over a goalie’s head isn’t goalie interference, a player running into the goalie and laying on top of him isn’t goalie interference. Either way, a revision of  the rule is needed desperately.

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