How terrible is this goalie interference call on Nick Bjugstad? (Video)

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The Florida Panthers defeated the Colorado Avalanche in overtime on Tuesday night, 4-3, on a Brad Boyes goal. This result proves that the Hockey Gods have a sense of goodness and fairness, because the Panthers were nearly jobbed by an atrocious goalie interference penalty late in the third period.

Bjugstad made a brilliant move in the Avalanche zone, skating out from behind the net, turning and accelerating through the Colorado defense towards goalie Reto Berra. The goalie moved to the top of his crease and attempted a poke check. Bjugstad collided with his pad and flew through the air.

The result? Two minutes for goalie interference, a penalty that the Panthers would eventually kill.

The NHL rulebook, on goalie interference:

“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.”

Or, if you prefer:

A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper. However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact.

Considering where Berra was when the contact was made, and the fact that his aggressive defensive play was THE ONLY REASON THERE WAS CONTACT, there’s no way in hell there should have been a goalie interference call, let alone a power play being handed to Colorado in that situation.

The difference between this play and the one that took a Pavel Datsyuk goal off the board for the Red Wings at the Montreal Canadiens? The rules provided Carey Price some cover when he initiated contact with Justin Abdelkader, who had placed himself near the Montreal goalie. But this Bjugstad play only happens because Berra attempts to play the puck.

One’s a bad rule with too much gray area. The other’s just a terrible call.