We’ve gotten a few questions in the mailbag this week.
Why is it called goalie interference when a defender clearly pushes our guy into the goalie, such as in the November 14th loss to the Kings? Replays clearly showed Szczechura was pushed into the goalie and there was no purposeful intention to do so.
Thanks for your help, Joe T.
Let’s review the play. Referee Frederick L’Ecuyer was standing on the goal line (extended) and pointed to the net when the puck went in, signaling a goal. The contact between Szczechura and Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick occurred on the opposite side of the net, as did Sean O’Donnell’s push on Szczechura. Quick argued his point with L’Ecuyer who then conferred with the three other officials. He eventually ruled that Szczechura interfered with the goalie and negated the goal.
Just to be clear, there are two categories of goalie interference. If a goalie is knocked over, for example, a penalty will be called, whether the puck went in the net or not. This is the more frequent infraction. The other one is called only when a goal is scored and strictly has to do with a player making incidental contact with the goalie and impeding the goalie’s ability to make a save. Whether a player could have prevented the contact also comes into play. This is a judgment call and is made at the referee’s discretion.
Personally, I believe it should have been ruled a goal. As you wrote, Szczechura was pushed into Quick and couldn’t have reasonably gotten out of the way. Then there’s the fact that Quick was out of his crease, although there seems to be no hard and fast rule about the position of the goalie in relation to the crease needing to factor into a ref’s decision.
Unlike some opinions I’ve heard about that play, I don’t have a problem with L’Ecuyer overturning his original goal call. To me, it’s more important that an official rules correctly rather than quickly. The fact that L’Ecuyer did negate the goal tells me one of two things: either he didn’t see the push or he felt that even with the push, Szczechura could have avoided contact.
Being a hockey referee is a tough job. The game moves at breakneck speed and calls are going to be missed. In the end, all we can ask of officials is that they do the best they can and they are true to their convictions. After talking with his fellow officials, L’Ecuyer felt he got it right at the time and as hard as it may be to swallow for Lightning fans, that’s really all we can ask of a referee.
We can ask more of the league, however. We already have a video replay system in place. But the review takes place at the War Room in the NHL Toronto offices and in the press box. This play wasn’t reviewable because it concerned a referee’s call, not a question as to if, how or when the puck entered the net. I believe that in certain critical situations, referees should be given the opportunity to look at a replay themselves. In this case, L’Ecuyer could have viewed the play from a different angle. He would have clearly seen the push and determined whether the replay jived with what he saw or contradicted what he thought he saw. (Another example could be last year’s infamous Mike Smith “stick-throwing” play against Colorado in which referee Brian Pochmara awarded Milan Hejduk the deciding shootout goal even though the puck never went in the net). What’s wrong with giving an official the chance to make sure he got a call right?
Hi Dave. I was wondering if you know when Paul Ranger will be returning to
the Lightning? I miss him and think he can be a big help on the Lightning's
defense. Brett Leblanc
I have very little information on Ranger’s status other than what has been reported in the local papers. Here’s a link to Damien Cristodero’s St. Petersburg Times article in which Ranger’s road roommate Kurtis Foster mentions how Ranger occasionally texts him.
The good news for the Lightning has been that in Ranger’s absence, other guys like David Hale and Lukas Krajicek have stepped up and provided important, valuable minutes.
Dave. With 20 percent of the season gone, the GM must know that the team just does not have six “top 6” forwards. Do you think that an action is near to improve this situation or will it be a wait till March and see if an action (buy or rent) is worthwhile as to making/going deep in the playoffs? Would like your thoughts. Thanks, Donn S.
The Lightning have tried a number of different players on one of the top two lines, seeking a combination with the other five “top six”: Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone and Alex Tanguay. Regarding a trade, GM Brian Lawton is always keeping his eyes and ears open in hopes of improving the club. A couple of weeks ago, though, he told the Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune that at the recent GM meetings “it was pretty quiet (regarding trade talk). It’s still early in the season and people are still trying to figure out what they’ve got. We definitely have a lot of players signed as proportionally to the number of roster spots, so that quells things quite a bit. But as you start to get injuries and stuff like that, you start to get talks.”
Naturally, the Bolts are still hopeful that someone will secure a spot as the sixth forward, but it’s been nice to see that after slow starts, Lecavalier and Tanguay are starting to find their respective offensive grooves.
I have to admit you have played an integral part in my family getting hooked on the Lightning some three years ago when we moved to the Tampa area. Your enthusiasm and gimmick free style is second to none. Frequently, my wife and I will look at each other after a big goal and say: “I would’ve loved to hear ‘the Mish’ on that one!” Which brings me to my question: Is there anywhere your radio highlights are available on-line?
Sincerely, Adam Kraft in New Port Richey
I really appreciate the kind words. Thanks very much. Unlike my days in the minors, when I taped my own broadcasts (yes, that was in the stone ages when we all used cassettes), I’m not involved in the recording or archiving of games. I forwarded your question to Lightning Manager of Radio Programming Matt Sammon, who also hosts the pregame, postgame and intermissions on Lightning radio along with the Lightning Hockey Hotline postgame show. Here is his response …
We archive the broadcasts but don’t post them. You can inform Adam (and anyone else for that matter), if they want any particular highlights to contact me at email@example.com and I’ll send them a copy of the audio.
Matt also told me that he hopes to eventually post a “classic calls” link on our website.
Thanks for the questions, everybody. Again, please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.