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Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks scored a critical goal in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final in the second period on a play that the NHL determined was not a kicked puck into the goal.
After Brad Richards’ shot was saved by Anaheim Ducks goalie Freddie Anderson – who then left yet another rebound in front of him – Hossa followed by angling his skate into the puck and knocking it into the net for what was a 4-0 lead at the time for Chicago.
From the NHL:
At 13:45 of the second period in the Chicago Blackhawks/Anaheim Ducks game, video review supported the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off Marian Hossa's skate and into the Anaheim net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 49.2 "A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal." Good goal Chicago.
Look, the rule’s a joke. It’s always been a joke. The NHL has several criteria for what constitutes a kicked puck, and here they are:
Did you watch all seven minutes? Great.
Now, the Hossa goal fits the criteria of a “good goal.” Sorta. I mean, he clearly brings his leg through the puck, with an actual follow through, so it’s a little more than just a simple angling of the puck. Whether he's trying to stop on a dime or kick the puck to his stick or whatever, there's a follow-through there.
But I imagine that the NHL saw the push Anderson gave the puck before it hit Hossa’s skate, saw a bang-bang play and decided it was a good goal.
My problem with the rule is simple: What’s the spirit of it? Is it to force players to play the puck with their sticks rather than their skates? Because if that’s the case, the Hossa goal does a disservice to the rule. Is it to ensure that egregious, pendulum swing kicks aren’t allowed in the NHL? Well, if you’re allowing literally every other type of kicked and angled puck, why not that?
It was close, but by the letter of the law the NHL has defined it as a good goal.
Their next ruling on pucks that are kicked into the goal is to abolish this stupid, arbitrary rule altogether and increase scoring in the process.
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