December 19, 2010
Last night, in a tightly played game against the visiting Dallas Stars, Derek Dorsett(notes) of the Columbus Blue Jackets appeared to break a 1-1 tie in the second period with a shot that beat Kari Lehtonen(notes). Immediately, referee Chris Rooney waived off the goal, claiming Ethan Moreau(notes) interfered with Lehtonen -- despite that contact occurring outside the crease.
The Jackets were steamed after the game, and Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch claims, "the referees screwed up royally. Holy Auger!" Take a look:
"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."
Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel felt that Lehtonen came out to challenge the shot, initiated contact with Moreau and "proceeded to throw his arms in the air."
Moreau was more emphatic in his protest, claiming Rooney was laughing after it. From Puck-Rakers:
Moreau: "That's my ice. I'm outside the blue paint. I'm standing there screening the goalie. He feels contact that he initiates. He feels he's in a bad position and falls down. You've got to be pretty sure of that call. These games are so tight - that's why you've got to be positive when you make that call. He (Rooney) was talking to his buddy (fellow referee Ian Walsh) and he was laughing."
(Let's not presume the referees were having a laugh over this call. Maybe one of them simply mentioned Boomer The Cannon Phallus or something.)
Obviously, the Blue Jackets had ample time to get this goal "back" after it was wiped away, but it could have shifted the momentum on home ice.
If nothing else, it's yet another argument for the type of limited video review on goalie interference calls that Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon proposed to his brethren but that was rejected at the GM meetings.
These are bang/bang plays. Referees can be out of position or see something that wasn't there. Goalies can embellish. The bottom line is that unlike the majority of calls in a hockey game, this one is the difference between a goal on the scoreboard or lost to a rules violation. If we have the technology to determine the validity of the call, then a coach should be allowed to use that technology to challenge a call and ensure his team hasn't been jobbed ... like the Blue Jackets clearly feel they were last night.