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Referees cause confusion after disallowed goal

Mar 28, 2010, 3:46 PM EDT

I’m not here to say that a disallowed goal was the ultimate doom for
the Flyers, but there’s no doubt it was the turning point in the game.
Simon Gagne’s goal would have put the Flyers ahead 2-1, in a game they
were playing fairly well in and one they desperately needed to stop
sliding down the Eastern Conference standings. Instead, the officials
made perhaps the worst goal-reversal calls I’ve ever seen and the Flyers
lost 4-1.

To set the table for this debate: The Flyers skated
into the zone on a three-on-two, and looked to have a goal when Simon
Gagne slid a rebound past a sprawling Marc-Andre Fleury, who had come
well out of his crease to make the save on the initial shot. Fleury had
been knocked over by Ville Leino on the play, and referee Dan Marouelli
immediately called it a good goal, with no hesitation. There was also no
penalty called on the play.

Then, after a lengthy discussion
Marouelli made this call: “The goal has been disallowed due to
incidental contact with the goaltender. No penalty, no goal.”


We break down this travesty of officiating after the jump.

start with, here’s the excerpt from the NHL rule book on goaltender
interference. Rule 69.1:

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
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.

play is not reviewable, per the rule. It is left completely up to the
officials on the ice.

First off, it’s more than obvious that
contact is made outside of the crease. See below:


So contact is
made outside of the crease, so the first part of the rule does not
apply. What about the intentional part of the rule? Was Ville Leino’s
contact intentional or deliberate?


Above, you can see how Leino is
putting on the brakes as he overskates the puck. You can see the puck
at his feet, and how he’s turning his head to look at MAF.

From a
different angle (below), you can see that Leino has not been able to stop and
sees he’s about to collide with Fleury. Is this intentional? Tough to


But it doesn’t matter, because according to the referees the
contact was incidental.

“The goal has been disallowed due to
incidental contact with the
goaltender. No penalty, no goal.”

So if the contact was
incidental, and outside of the crease, the goal should be allowed
according to NHL rules. Simon Gagne is even more confused, especially after
talking with Marouelli after the play:

“At first,
he called it a goal. After reviewing the play on the
scorebard he changed his mind that we had somebody on their goalie.
That’s the first time I’ve seen that,” said Gagne.

“I asked him, ‘are you allowed to look at the scoreboard?’ He said I
would be happy if the same thing happened to us.”

this is true, if Marouelli looked at the scoreboard to overturn a call
he previously made, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the play not
being open for video review? And if the contact was deemed to be such
that a goal should be disallowed, shouldn’t a penalty have been called. If he’s confused about the ruling on the play, he can always call Toronto to get clarification on how such a play should be called.

can’t take a goal away for incidental contact outside of the crease.
There’s just nothing in the rules that call for it.

  1. Paul - Mar 28, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    I don’t know if you’re a Flyers fan, but assuming you’re not, I want to thank you for offering an unbiased look at this call. I am many times guilty as a a die hard Flyers fan of blaming the officiating. That being said, sometimes, like this case, it’s just the truth. This makes 3, no seriously, 3 goals this season that have been taken away from the Flyers when playing Pitt. Not just weak penalties that fans hate, GOALS. 1. 01/07/10 Gagne scores but Pittsburgh TV doesn’t release the video evidence of this goal. The Flyers do win and the TV guy is suspended. 2. 01/24/10 Richards scores but the goal is called back because of high-sticking Gagne. Watch the replay on You Tube and tell me where high-stick is. The goal would have made it 2-0. Pitt gets the PP and scores to make it 1-1 on it. 3. see above. 3 goals, no ground for dispute, I’m speechless.

  2. Bob - Mar 28, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    the called wasnt reviewed. it was called no goal by the trailing referee. the flyer player knocked fleury over and fell on him. without trying to avoid contact. everyone knows how the flyers play. no surprise here.
    …i believe they should make goalie-contact reviewable as it happens alot were players leg sweep the pad, or hit the glove. whatever.

  3. David - Mar 28, 2010 at 11:02 PM

    Thanks, we know you’re a clueless Pittsburgh fan, because only the truly delusional argue against the type of clear and irrefutable evidence provided in these screen shots. I think it’s wonderful that the ref who was 20 feet away came and overruled the ref who was 1 foot away pointing at the goal. The only problem is that the rules say that can’t happen.
    And just for fun, please take your “everyone knows how the Flyers play” and place that up your rearend as far as possible.”
    Everyone knows that the refs are going to watch out for Crosby, and that he’s still gonna cry and complain.
    Everyone knows that Matt Cooke is the cheapest player in the NHL, but somehow never seems to draw a penalty or a suspension.
    Everyone knows that Pittsburgh would have no team if not for their epic fail ineptitude which got them a slew of first round picks.
    Everyone knows that Pittsburgh fans are fair weather flunkies who don’t know squat about hockey.
    Hey wait, this game is kinda fun.

  4. Matt - Mar 29, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    Get over it. Each team faces that exact call during the course of the year. Philly’s reputation preceeds itself and unfortunately for them it cost them a goal. Refs pay more attention to certain teams running goalies, its a known fact. I can only assume you are a philly fan by your post.
    Everyone knows that Philly is tanking.
    Everyone knows Carcillo and Pronger are cheap players, at least Matt Cooke, who has 15 goals, can do more than grow a porn stash and sleep with other players wives like Pronger did in Edmonton.
    Pronger was supposed to shut down Crosby remember, hmm, great addition there.
    Everyone knows Philly fans are considered a joke to every other teams fans in the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB, AHL, MLS, and any other league you want to add.
    Everyone knows Philly would have a collective wet dream if they could have drafted Crosby, or Malkin, or Fleury, or Staal so shut up clown.
    Everyone knows how sorry your goaltending situation is.
    Everyone knows your captain is a cheap shot artist.
    Everyone know your GM cannot put a team together.
    Everyone knows Hartnell bit Letang yet you want to talk about being cheap.
    Lets’ face it, Saturday’s game was an embarrassment for Philly. No effort, no heart, no desperation. The Flyers have shown no desire and a lack of heart over the last 10 games. Your top players constantly take nights off. Keep whining and we’ll keep eliminating you from the playoffs.

  5. Jim - Mar 29, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    So, can anybody explain why hartnall got a penalty for being punched in the face by crosby?? and he’s not a golden child right?? Crosby can pull the same crap that any flyer or NHL player would pull in “clearing the crease” and being rough!!! But why hasn’t crosby recieved any 2 min. roughing for throwing punches (see the replays on Crosby socking Hartnall and Timmonnen in the crease) 1st round pick or not he should get the same penalties as any other player….!!!! besides, Ovechkin is the better all around player of the two! He is the complete player and even he gets a suspension!!! So, would crying like crosby does get you out of a penalty?? is this rough touch hockey when you play pittsburgh cause god forbid Crosby gets touched!!!! 2mins. in the sin bin.

  6. Paul - Mar 29, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    Why do these comments always degrade into random assertions with no facts?!? The point everyone is making is that the refs agreed with us that the contact is incidental and still waved the goal off which is contrary to the rule book. I really don’t understand why you just can’t acknowledge there was a mistake. No one even said the Flyers would have won, just that they weren’t given a totally fair chance. You have some valid points, the Flyers are in a sad state now. And some amazingly stupid ones. I loved the one about Cooke’s 15 goals. Crazy Pronger 10, Hartnell 14, Carcillo 11. It sucks that these guys never score compared to the incomparable Cooke. Also the goalie situation. How would you feel about yours if #1, 2 and 4 goalies went out? Made more interesting if you look at the Flyers record with Leighton. The numbers don’t lie.
    Also thank you for ignoring the other TWO stolen goals.
    Cue another poorly though out argument from a Pens fan…

  7. faithfullyflyers - Mar 29, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    Hey maybe we can make a new rule that no Flyer can cross the Pens blue line to score and if they do disallow the goal on what ever rule the leagues create for the moment and give the Flyer who does cross the blue line a 20 game suspension!
    Everyone knows Crosby whines like a school girl
    Everyone knows Mario is doing the boys over at the NHL
    Everyone knows that Sidney and Mario are dating
    Everyone knows Pitts-burgh is a toilet bowl
    Everyone knows your team is full of whiners
    Everyone knows that Matte Cooke is a douche bag

  8. joe - Mar 29, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    how can this be considered an unbiased post? The last line of the post reads:
    “You can’t take a goal away for incidental contact outside of the crease. There’s just nothing in the rules that call for it.”
    The last line of the rule reads:
    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.
    the last phrase says “provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.” So if the ref felt, in his opinion, that the player did not make a reasonable effort, then incidental contact outside of the crease would be possible.
    what am I missing?

  9. hockeyfan - Mar 29, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    You contradict yourself. You talk about poorly thought out arguments then you reference “TWO stolen goals.” Just how is it goals are stolen? Bad calls do not equal stolen goals. If you’re going to put out there that your argument is more thought out perhaps it should actually be just that! You failed to reference the gift goal Marc Andre Fleury let in in the 1st period as well which was horribly soft. Philly failed to keep the Pens down when they could have, a sign of a bad team. That goal did not cause the Pens to quit, or to lose their heart. Regardless of the goalie’s name the Flyers have shown zero heart. A team is made of more that one player and rallies around a struggling goalie or goalies… and frankly the Pens have had their share of bad goaltending in previous years and games. More so than the Flyers over the last 10 years. When the Flyers face adversity – like the disallowed goal- they fold. Flyers fans should be angry at their team. They sell out each game and get their hard earmed money taken from them each time from a team with no heart, no spirit, and no desperation.
    About a minute after the disallowed goal the Pens took a 2-1 lead. Philly had every chance to use that bad call as motivation, instead they decided to use it as an excuse to fold, to quit, and to make an excuse.
    Philly made John Stevens the scapegoat for the teams inconsistency and now Peter Laviolette is no better. Will he be fired? Perhaps they roster needs overhauled. Say what you will about the Pens, or any individual player. They have heart. No argument anyone makes will dispute that, especially when the actualy Philly beat writers and sports reporters are saying the season is over.

  10. John - Mar 29, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    You’re missing that the ref explicitly said in his explanation that the goal was disallowed due to incidental contact with the goaltender, see quote in the article above. The fact that the officials deemed it incidental is why it is contrary to the rules of the NHL.

  11. JoeBob - Mar 29, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    I am a Flyers fan, but I was also a sport official, so I’m the first one to defend how difficult their job is. But having said that, I think this was one of the most poorly officiated games I’ve witnessed personally. It just so happend that two particular calls went against one team. Even worse than the disallowed goal – I don’t have an issue with them disallowing it if that was the original call, but if they did change the call based on the scoreboard replay, then I have serious concerns — was the call on the hit Harnell applied on Crosby. Can anyone tell me or show me what that was about? And as for the Flyers reputations… the officials are supposed to call the game as they see it, not as they perceive the intention or attitude of the players.

  12. Paul - Mar 29, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    I would say that a goal is stolen when it goes in the net and then doesn’t count because of poor officiating. I’m sorry if you don’t like my figure of speech.
    You raise some decent points. First, so called “gift goals” are at least a players fault and not against the NHL rules. Also, I agree that a great team and in a perfect world should be able to handle any adversity, injuries and bad officiating. I’m not using injuries as any excuse for the Flyers play, I just think it’s unfortunate and you would also be annoyed if it happened to your team. Unfortunately this isn’t a perfect world and the Flyers this year aren’t a great team. They’re a good team that deserves to play games on equal ground with their opponents. Saying that they could have come back isn’t the point, even if it’s true. The point is it’s fundamentally unfair for goals to be disallowed or otherwise not awarded. End of story.
    The fact that the went down 2-1 a few minutes after is exactly why this kind of this is so damaging. That situation shouldn’t even have existed. Say what you want about heart, it’s hard to have it when you’re consistently getting the short end of the stick. Next time the Pens face this situation: 3 goalies lost, top scorer out and several indisputably bad calls against them, come back and show me how much heart they have.

  13. Joe - Mar 30, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    John – I actually agree that it was a bad call and should be a goal; that being said, reading the rule again, it clearly says that incidental contact outside of the crease can result in a goal being disallowed. This is the last phrase in the rule that I highlighted earlier (provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact). This phrase basically leaves it up to the ref to make a judgement call on whether or not to allow a goal due to incidental contact.

  14. Ian - Apr 6, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Joe, it says “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.” I had to reread it as well but it is saying the goal is to not be overturned if the ref rules the contact incidental, which by their in game announcement, was the case. The sad thing is that the NHL is fixed. Right now it is for the Penguins, they have Crosby, who the city loves and spends tons of money to see and support and supposedly the poster child for the league, the NHL won’t let him not succeed. They have Malkin who draws Russian attention, especially with Ovechkin in Washington making for a huge rivalry in the conference and draws tons of attention with the leagues 2 best players in the same game. It is just the Penguins turn, the same way is was Messier’s turn in ’94 when he was the face of the Rangers and hitting his later years, and Bourque in ’01 when he was set to retire and still hadn’t raised the cup. The NHL wants to keep the ratings as high as possible and failing to favor the best players won’t do that for the league. Just sad to see, especially when the Olympics showed just how exciting hockey can be when there is no favoring.

  15. Jack - Apr 7, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    If a player did NOT make a reasonable effort to avoid the contact, then couldn’t the contact be considered “incidental” and simultaneously be used as rationale to disallow a goal? It seems that most people on this thread are interpreting the rule to mean that contact with the goaltender can ONLY be deemed “incidental” if the player made a reasonable effort to avoid the contact. However, I’m not sure that rule states this.
    I read the rule to mean that “when incidental contact occurs the goal will only be allowed if the player made a reasonable effort to avoid the contact”.
    I agree, however, that this application of the rule seems awfully fishy. Nevertheless, I am not convinced that it was contradictory to the rule.

  16. SIMSMarcella33 - May 9, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    This is understandable that money can make us disembarrass. But how to act if one has no money? The one way is to get the credit loans and just auto loan.

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