Reflections from a reporter born in 1987

John Carlson's disallowed goal the right call (Video)

December 3, 2010 - 12:08 PM
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So, with 7.6 seconds left in the third period of last night's 2-1 loss by the Washington Capitals  to the Dallas Stars, this happened:

In case you missed it, referee Dan O'Rourke immediately disallowed John Carlson's potential game-tying goal on the grounds that Alex Ovechkin pushed Dallas Stars defenseman Karlis Skrastins into goaltender Andrew Raycroft. Cue gnashing of teeth from Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau:

"It's a bad call [the non-goal]," [Boudreau] said. "Refs make bad calls but at that time of the game when you're down one you better be sure something is happening instead of wanting to make that call."

Boudreau has previously expressed his support for an NFL-style coaches-challenge system of instant replay in the NHL. It's a very good idea, and one worth more consideration than it's yet received, but as it relates to last night's happenings, I'm not sure it would have done any good.

Here's the relevant portion of NHL rule 69, which deals with goaltender interference:

If a defending player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by an attacking player so as to cause the defending player to come into contact with his own goalkeeper, such contact shall be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, and if necessary a penalty assessed to the attacking player and if a goal is scored it would be disallowed.

Watch the disallowed goal from last night again. On the overhead angle, which begins at the 53-second mark, you can clearly see Ovechkin, with his right hand off his stick, pushing Skrastins into Raycroft. The previous replay, which starts at the 42-second mark, is less conclusive, but you can clearly see Ovechkin's arm extending as he pushes Skrastins into his netminder. Skrastins has no chance to avoid Raycroft. Raycroft, in turn, has nowhere to go but backwards, and has absolutely no chance to make a play on Carlson's shot. That's what O'Rourke saw, and that's why he was so quick to disallow the goal.

Now, a few people on Twitter have drawn comparison to this goal, scored by the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (at the 2:27 mark):

In that case, the officials believed that the contact between the goaltender, Cristobal Huet, and defender Shaone Morrison was a separate, accidental collision, unrelated to the preceding body check by the Flyer forward.

What do you folks think? Should Carlson's goal have been allowed?


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  1. Ben Reed Ben Reed

    Ben Reed

    Dec 03, 2010 - 01:51:32 PM

    "you can clearly see Ovechkin, with his right hand off his stick, pushing Skrastins into Raycroft." You can't be serious. Skrastins, with a full head of steam, barrels his oafy self directly into the crease. The first replay makes this clear. Ovechkin did not cause him to move, any more than a gust of wind causes a freight train to barrel down the tracks. I understand there are borderline calls, and subjectivity involved. There's just no room for any here. It was the wrong call. Period. It's ok, it's not the end of the world, but the call was bad. No two ways about it. Sorry.

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