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Injured Islanders goalie: NHL needs better goalie protection

Jan 11, 2012, 12:51 PM EDT

Add Al Montoya to the list of netminders displeased with the NHL’s goaltender protection policy.

The New York Islanders goalie has been out since Dec. 21, when he suffered a concussion after getting bowled over by Winnipeg’s Evander Kane. Here’s the hit in question:

Kane got a two-minute goalie interference penalty (which, as the video illustrates, he didn’t agree with); Montoya left the game immediately and has yet to return to action. While he’s resumed on-ice workouts and slowly recovering from his concussion, Montoya still clearly harbors some resentment over the way he got concussed.

“If you’re telling me that a guy can lead with his stick like that, make contact to someone’s head and all he gets is a two-minute penalty? And the goaltender’s out two weeks? That’s a pretty minor penalty for something like that,” Montoya told Newsday. “I go down in my crease not expecting to get run over. No goaltender does. You have to be able to do that without thinking you’ll get a stick to the face.”

The Kane-Montoya collision was just the latest instance of player-on-goalie violence. Buffalo’s Ryan Miller has twice been bowled over this season (once by Milan Lucic, one by Jordin Tootoo) and Detroit’s Jimmy Howard has repeatedly spoken out about an increase in physical contact.

“They’ve got to look at that situation again,” Montoya said. “There has to be a point where a guy who’s driving to the net has to be able to pull up and back off.”

  1. drewsylvania - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Weird. I thought this was going to be the other Islanders goalie.

  2. icelovinbrotha215 - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    You also need teammates sticking up for their own ‘tenders.

  3. tmjm621 - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    The islamders lost there toughness. They have no one. Evander kane i doubt tried, tootoo im sure meant it on miller and lucic is a cheap bastard. Either way the goalies should be protected. But if ur playing hard its not like you can jus hit a break and stop on a dime. Physics doesnt work like that obviously

    • bcisleman - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      Kane made no effort to avoid Montoya or even to slow up AND he whacked him in the head with his stick as he made contact. As to the Isles having no one, you are apparently unfamiliar with Matt Martin. I expect he and Kane will become better acquainted next time the Isles and Jets play.

      Kane’s a very promising young player and I think everyone who is not a Pens fan enjoyed watching him do a number on Matt Cooke. For him to run over a goalie, whack him in the head with his stick, cause serious injury and then protest against being penalized is just unbelievable chutzpah. He should have been given a major, an ejection, and a suspension.

      • whatswellydoing - Jan 11, 2012 at 6:11 PM

        I LOVED watching him lay out Cooke. Don’t care for him running goalies though.

        On an unrelated note, I really expected this article to be about Dipietro.

  4. bogrann - Jan 11, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    I completely understand that a goalie should be protected in every way possible, but you do not understand hockey and the dynamics of the game if you think this was intentional or if Kane had any choice in the play. Two points here to be made; Kane is rushing to the net WITH the puck when Jurchina decides to leave the angling position and force Kane with a cross-check towards his own goaltender and out of his lane into the direction of Montoya, leaving to Kane to brace for the impact in a matter of seconds( something very hard to do, if you have ever played hockey in your life.) Two: If you watch closely, Kane has every intention to cut in front of the crease once he drops his shoulder to ward off the D-man. I personally believe that the tape should be viewed as Jurchina being the enforcer and creating a hazardous play. At some point Jurchina has to decide whether or not hitting Kane will create a risk of injuring his goalie, given the speed of the offender.

    • bogrann - Jan 11, 2012 at 6:01 PM

      Sorry, one mistake. Jurchina poked checked with one hand and pushed Kane in the back with the other hand, causing Kane to have no choice where to go.

    • bcisleman - Jan 11, 2012 at 10:30 PM

      Can’t agree. Kane was skating directly at Montoya full speed. He never made any effort to slow up or change direction. Jurcina’s little tap made little if any difference. Kane would have run over Montoya regardless AND he whacked him in the head with his stick.

      • bogrann - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:46 PM

        watch the video again. do you play? do you understand what Kane is doing when he drops his left shoulder? He’s shifting weight onto his left foot only to CHANGE direction. If he had intentions of colliding with Montoya he would have just remained in a hockey stance going full speed at the net.

  5. hazlydose - Jan 11, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    He should probably have a conversation with his defenders about checking skaters into him then…

  6. danphipps01 - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Oh, shut up, Rick, you consider it a success when you survive a light breeze without another concu- oh, it’s Montoya this time. Alright, fair enough. Good point.

  7. cshearing - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    It is such a borderline play. Power forwards are taught their whole lives to crash the net, so these types of collisions are a by-product of that. Definitely a penalty, but I am not sure how much more could be done without severely changing the game.

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