Goaltender interference becoming more frequent

Goaltender interference becoming more frequent
March 29, 2012, 2:13 pm
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If it feels like NHL referees have started engaging in a lot more conferences after goals over the last few weeks, its not your imagination at work.

For the Boston Bruins there have been extended discussions about potential goaltender interference after goals in each of their last two games, and in each case the call ended up benefitting the Black and Gold. In Sundays win over the Anaheim Ducks a Matt Beleskey game-tying goal in the third period was wiped out because the refs ruled that Andrew Cogliano was in the crease interfering with Marty Turcos ability to square up and play the shot.

It ended up being the turning point in the game and turned Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau into a red-faced, expletive-tossing madman on the Anaheim bench and according to former NHL hockey referee Kerry Fraser its a new directive from the NHL GMs to call some instances of goaltender interference much more closely.

The mandate from the NHL general managers reads as follows after being agreed upon during the GM Meetings held in Florida last month:

Following the scoring of a goal where there was traffic and action in the area of the crease and goalie interference may come into play all four officials are to come together in the referee's crease. Once in the crease, the team is to communicate all possible information in determining the validity of the goal. The down low ref is still to make a goal or no goal signal on the play and then meet with his colleagues if there was contact and action involving the goalie to discuss the play.

In a unique scenario where a goal is scored and a good goal is signaled, but no penalty was signaled and upon discussion, the linesman is 100 certain that the goalie was interfered with in some way, in the blue paint, the goal is disallowed but no penalty is assessed.

It did appear that Cogliano arrived in the crease and set up camp without any movement -- long before the shot and interfered with Turcos ability to play the shot, and it was the perfect example of the new enforcement expected from NHL referees. Interestingly enough there was another lengthy conference after Bostons game-winning goal in the third period on Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning when Benoit Pouliot fired home a shot from the slot while Chris Kelly battled for position in front of the net.

Kelly was bumped around by defenders at ended up in the crease, but it didnt appear the center set up in front of Dwayne Roloson before the shot arrived. The goal was allowed to stand after a lengthy conference, and the Bruins ended up adding two more goals in the final period to pull away from the Lightning.

Two good examples of the new enforcement of goaltender interference and both of them arriving in short order for the Bruins. While the Bs players dont expect there will be a conference after every goal, they certainly have taken notice of the renewed attention to the action in and around the crease during goals. The fact the refs are willing to potentially look at and disallow pivotal goals in the third period of games tells you that its an issue theyre taking seriously.

Unlike the goal in Anaheim that was overturned I was with the defenseman battling for position. I wasnt on my own. It seems like the get the proper calls most of the time. It has happened in the last two games but I dont think it has happened too many times before, said Kelly. The refs want to give the goalies the best opportunities to save the puck. They dont want someone all over the goalie when he is trying to make the save. Thats not fair. If it is a battle in front of the goalie then thats fine for a goal to count.

Kelly appears to be correct in his assessment and theres little doubt this new mandate to call goalie interference is something well be seeing a lot of for the rest of the regular season and playoffs given the refs actions in the last two Bs games.