GREAT new website! Nice platform for your insight. Can you please opine on how Sean Monahan could have possibly avoided a cross-checking penalty on the play that lead to Calgary's game-winning goal on Tuesday night vs Buffalo?
Seemed to meet all the criteria: hit Reinhart directly in the numbers, sent him head-first into the boards, lead directly to change-of-possession--this hit checked all the boxes. Seems like a clear 100% penalty to me. How could it possibly go uncalled? Thanks Kerry!
You have quite accurately described Sean Monahan's illegal cross-check/shove to the back of Sam Reinhart that knocked the Sabres player down and forced a turnover of the puck. That turnover lead directly to Monahan's overtime winning goal for the Flames,
Your accurate description aside, let us all open the link here to examine the play:
This is a violation of rule 59--Cross-checking. Cross-checking is described as the action of using the shaft of the stick between the two hands to forcefully check an opponent from behind.
In an attempt to answer your question as to how this infraction could go uncalled I provide the following possible explanations. Referees typically allow a two-handed shove or push on the lower back that knocks their opponent to the ice. This 'legal' checking tactic (only because it is now allowed) is most often executed with the hands/gloves close together to reduce or eliminate the stick shaft from coming into play. It is also delivered from close range where full arm extension is not utilized. This tactic has evolved over time and become acceptable once players consistently turned to protect the puck by exposing their backside to an oncoming checker or in a battle against the boards.
On this play in question, Reinhart did turn away from Monahan to protect the puck, thereby fully exposing his back to potential contact. Monahan's right glove did contact the middle of the number "3" on Reinhart's back (#23) but so did the stick shaft. The referee might have also considered that Reinhart was attempting to draw a foul by embellishing the contact with a toe-pick and forward launch into the boards? I can only speculate.
In reality, Monahan spread his hands and extended his arms with separation between him and his opponent to deliver a cross-check with his right glove and the shaft of his stick to the back of Reinhart. The force of the blow, which also utilized some lower body strength and acceleration, was sufficient to knock the Buffalo player to the ice and result in a change of puck possession. This was not a 'legal' battle' of strength but a violation of the cross-check rule.