In Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals, with the Blackhawks trailing by a goal in the third period, this happened:
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Andrew Shaw thought the Blackhawks had knotted the game, moments after Patrick Kane scored to cut the Detroit Red Wings’ lead to 2-1. But a split-second after the puck bounced past Jimmy Howard and over the goal line, referee Brad Watson waived off the score on account of goalie interference.
Watch it again. If there’s any interference, it’s minimal, and occurs after Jakub Kindl bumps Shaw deeper into the crease. It’s close to being a complete phantom call, wiping away a goal and changing the momentum in the game – Pavel Datsyuk made it 3-1 Detroit just over a minute later.
The rule, via the NHL rule book:
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. The rule will be enforced exclusively in accordance with the on-ice judgment of the Referee(s), and not by means of video replay or review.
... If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.
What made the call even a bit more specious: The Kane goal was scored with Johan Franzen down in the Wings’ attacking zone after a cross-check from behind by Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, which was un-penalized. Was this a makeup call? Hooray for "game management!"
We’ve banged this drum more frequently and fervently than Dave Grohl recording “Nevermind”, but once more with feeling: There’s absolutely no reason why goalie interference isn’t a reviewable play via a coaches’ challenge.
Unless your reason is that referees’ blown calls will be made more obvious through this check and balance from the War Room. Because they would be, and rightfully so, because sometimes they steal goals from a team due to their incompetence. Whether that's the case here is your call.
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