February 17, 2011
Last night's wild Washington Capitals' 7-6 win over the Anaheim Ducks produced one fairly odd, somewhat controversial moment: The net behind Ducks goalie Curtis McElhinney(notes) becoming dislodged by a Capitals player while the Ducks were in possession of the puck, leading to a home run pass to Corey Perry(notes) and a goal by Bobby Ryan(notes) ... all while the net was way off of its moorings. Watch the goal here.
According to the NHL rulebook, the officials got the call correct:
"When the net is accidentally displaced by an attacking player, and the defending side is in possession of the puck and moving out of their zone, play shall be permitted to continue until such time as the nonoffending team loses possession of the puck. The resulting face-off will take place at a face-off spot in the zone nearest the location where the play was stopped, unless it is in the non-offending team's defending zone, and as such the ensuing face-off would be outside the blue line at one of the face-off spots in the neutral zone.
"It is possible for a goal to be scored at one end of the rink while the net at the other end has been dislodged, provided that the team being scored upon is the team responsible for dislodging the net at the other end of the rink."
But what some fans were asking us last night during this sequence:
Why didn't Ducks coach Randy Carlyle pull McElhinney for an extra attacker, since the situation is treated like a delayed penalty on the Capitals? Isn't this a keen opportunity for a 6-on-5 advantage?
Two reasons why it didn't happen. First, because this scenario occurs about as often as a Derek Boogaard(notes) hat trick; and unless your coach is some brainiac like Scotty Bowman, chances are he's not going to react to it with the necessary haste.
Second, the difference between this and a delayed penalty is that one of the officials could -- though they didn't last night -- skate over and reset the net. Which would make the ice no country for sixth skaters, and create a situation where the goalie is scrambling to get back to a vacated net. Cue the Benny Hill music.
Totally weird, totally random play that resulted in a Ducks goal. Every time you think you've seen it all ...