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GMs discuss protecting goalies at meetings

Nov 15, 2011, 3:25 PM EDT

Lucic Miller

We understand some of you might be getting sick of this whole “protecting the goalie” topic. If that’s the case, we’re sorry. However, the league’s general managers were concerned enough to talk about it this morning during their meetings in Toronto, so we have to report it. If you’re not interested, click here to read Mike Florio’s Week 10 NFL power rankings. The 49ers at No. 2? Whodathunkit!

Anyway, Penguins GM Ray Shero believes the NHL’s decision to not suspend Milan Lucic for his hit on Ryan Miller could have unfortunate consequences.

“If you get into a playoff series and these guys are going to play pucks and you run (goalies) over and get a two-minute penalty, I think you’re going to open up a set of pretty dangerous circumstances,” Shero said, as per

While such concerns were surely raised, it sounds like the meeting was more about clarifying the current rules than anything else.

“Brendan [Shanahan] has said the goalie is not fair game and that’s going to be the message to our team,” Shero said. “The goalie is not fair game. If the guy is going to play it outside the crease you have to be pretty careful.”

So just to reiterate, the goalie is not fair game. It’s right here in the rulebook.

Lucic wasn’t suspended because, as the rulebook states, “incidental contact, at the discretion of the Referee, will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.”

Shanahan accepted Lucic’s defense that contact was unavoidable. I didn’t see it that way, but I’m not Shanahan. If I was, I’d have nicer clothes.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 15, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Why should goalies get to run around wherever they like and not have to worry about being hit? People seem to be forgetting it’s a contact sport. GMs, if you don’t want your goalie getting hurt tell him not to take stupid chances like the one Miller took

    • buffalotears - Nov 15, 2011 at 5:04 PM

      Goalies don’t have the same equipment as other players. They are dressed to stop pucks and be protected from PUCKS, not HITS. I’d love to see how all these Bruins fans would respond if the shoe was on the other foot, and Kaleta takes out Thomas. I agree 100% that Buffalo didn’t respond like they needed to, but you can’t blame Miller for trying to stop a break away chance. Lucic had plenty of time to get out of the way, and he felt it necessary to run Miller over. End of story.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 15, 2011 at 5:10 PM

        I’ve played the position bud, I know what kind of equipment we wear. What did Miller think was going to happen to him if he charged at Lucic? I don’t blame him for trying to stop a breakaway but he’s been around long enough to know what was likely going to happen and his response after the game was gutless. He needs to take some responsibility for what was partly his fault

  2. polegojim - Nov 15, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    EXACTLY! QB is about the ‘protected’ position in professional sports…. but if they decide to run in the open field… they’re still a FOOTBALL player, right?

    Why on earth is hockey any different????

    Goalies who skate out to play in open ice are still hockey players.

    The owners will see this differently if given the same play-off scenario, a goalie skates out and is able to make a game or series winning play BECAUSE he is untouchable.

    • Jason Brough - Nov 15, 2011 at 4:47 PM

      I don’t see your point. You can still hit a quarterback in the pocket if he’s got the ball.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 15, 2011 at 5:12 PM

        Have you watched the NFL lately Jason? That’s barely true anymore. Those guys are literally untouchables in a sport where trying to knock your opponent’s head off is one of the main goals

    • Jason Brough - Nov 15, 2011 at 5:18 PM

      Guess I was watching something else last night.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 15, 2011 at 6:37 PM

        Nice try. You know that every week for each one of those there’s a 15 yard penalty for a phantom helmet-to-helmet or late hit. You would be trying to defend goalies though. Seeing as yours is the biggest flopper in the league you know you’ll be getting more powerplays if the NHL starts cracking down on contacting the goalies

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 15, 2011 at 6:42 PM

  3. billyhoyle4real - Nov 15, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Unavoidable Contact is when you’re within an arms or a sticks length. Not a stride and an elbow to the goaltender…
    Clearly the way Shanahan fails police the league warrants a committee to do the job of reviewing questionable hits. I’d hate to see a playoff series be decided by a goaltender getting injured due to this type of needless play.

  4. bertilfox - Nov 15, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    That hit was the Hockey equivalent of “incidental contact”. It was a glancing blow, at worst, but a blow nonetheless. Miller, stop the whining. It wasn’t that bad. You’re making American Hockey players look like crybabies. Besides, you cannot settle a score in the media. The media only has an interest in perpetuating your petty gripes.

  5. daveydawg - Nov 16, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    if goalies don’t want to get hit and be a real hockey player, they shouldn’t leave their crease. When you play the puck, you have to have your head up. His wasn’t. You shouldn’t have special treatment. His duty is not to make passes, it is to stop pucks and stop the puck behind the net. If he wants to be a 3rd D, he will be treated like one. All this is ridiculous. 1943 has it right on the head. And not the right equipment?! HA! They have more protection than our men and women on the front line. It’s CRAZY how much equipment they have… they ought to cut it down in fact. Half these goalies just rely on their size and extra bulk… stiffs like Luongo wouldn’t have a job if they didn’t wear oversized pads…

  6. botlecap - Nov 16, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    to me there is a huge difference between leaving your crease to play a non-contested loose puck (on a dump in, errant pass, or near icing clear for example) and leaving your net wide open in the hope that you can beat an opposing forward to the puck. you have to expect that guy is going to do everything he can, as fast as he can, to score that easy goal, and that contact is pretty darned likely. if a team gets behind the defense, and the goalie wants to make himself a defender, he has got to be a lot smarter about it than miller was.

    the league ought to have the position that if a team gets behind the defense, the goalie ought to act like a goalie – coming out only to cut down the angle. after all, if i was a coach or gm that’d be what my goalie was told to do. i’d rather take my chances on a break away than lose my goaltender to an injury. giving goaltenders special treatment to become some kind of untouchable defender is not the best way to protect them from injury.

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