Goaltender Interference: Always Called Wrong

As the NHL Playoffs roll on, there have been plenty of questionable penalty calls by officials. The one call that is always made incorrectly is goaltender interference. A collision occurs in front of the net, a couple players and the goalie go down and all of a sudden a goaltender interference penalty is called on the attacking player. The refs never get a clear look at the play. All they see is the goalie on the ice and blow their whistles.

Players on every team take a beating by placing their body in the slot, screening the opposing goalie and looking for a tip. They are slashed, rough, and drilled the entire game. Yet, when they are knocked to the ice and hit in the goalie, somehow they end up being called for the penalty. Take a beating, head to the penalty box.

Goaltender interference must be “deliberate and intentional”. Falling in to the goalie is neither of those yet it is consistently being called a penalty. Goaltender interference penalty should almost never be called. That would only occur when another player takes a punch or a vicious slash at the keeper, the same sort of thing that would receive a roughing penalty if done against a skater.

The real call that should be made is incidental goaltender interference. That occurs when a player ACCIDENTALLY takes out the goalie. For instance, he is in the midst of a move, blows an edge, and ends up taking out the keeper. Whistle, but no penalty. The player had no INTENTION of taking out the goalie so it cannot be “deliberate and intentional”.

Lots of times though, there should be no whistle whatsoever. If a goal occurs after the defending team takes out their own goalkeeper by throwing a forward into him, then that is just a terrible defensive job. The defense effectively caused the goal, but most of the time, the goal is being waved off and instead a penalty is being called on the offense.

There were two goaltender interference penalties called last night. One on Chuck Kobasew in the 3rd Period of the Bruins/Canadians game when Kobasew was pushed by a Canadian defenseman into goalie Carey Price. Well, Kobasew received a two-minute minor penalty in what should have been a no call.

The second penalty was on none other than Sean Avery in the Rangers/Capitals game. I dislike Avery more than any other player in the NHL. He’s a dirty player and an embarrassment for the league. He showed that at the end of the game last night, but in the second period he received a two minute penalty for goaltender interference. I did not see it. However, Newsday called the penalty “questionable” and I’ll take their word for it, because it falls in line with everything else I have seen this postseason.

For those that just watched the end of the Carolina versus New Jersey game, that would not have been goaltender interference. It would have been interference (still a penalty), because Brodeur was outside of the crease. Carolina scored the game-winner with 0.2 seconds left after Marty Brodeur had been bumped as he tried to position himself. It wasn’t goaltender interference, but it was a penalty. Either way, it was called wrong and cost New Jersey the game.

That is just one night during the playoffs when there were just three games. Goaltender Interference should occur once a week. It should not be a nightly occurrence. It certainly should not be called twice in one night in which there are only three games. The refs need to get together and read that actual rule, because their officiating thus far has is just proving that they have no idea what they are doing.


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