In all cases in which an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, whether or not the goalkeeper is inside or outside the goal crease, and whether or not a goal is scored, the attacking player will receive a penalty (minor or major as the Referee deems appropriate). In all cases where the infraction being imposed is to the attacking player is for hindering the goalkeeper's ability to move freely in his goal crease, the penalty to be assessed is for goalkeeper interference.
*In exercising his judgment, the Referee should give more significant consideration to the degree and nature of the contact with the goalkeeper than to the exact location of the goalkeeper at the time of the contact. Rule 69.2
Ask The Ref?
Rule 69.2 prescribes for a minor penalty to be imposed against an attacking player that is guilty of intentional or deliberate contact with the goalkeeper as opposed to that which is most often deemed to be "incidental" in nature.
The portion of the rule that I have highlighted above in red, and more specifically the "degree and nature of the contact," is the criteria that referees use to differentiate between calling a penalty or to simply 'play on' as a result of incidental contact - unless a goal is scored at which point the goal would be disallowed and no penalty would result.
At 3:31 of the second period, in the Toronto Maple Leafs eventual 3-2 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks, a potential goal by Morgan Rielly was disallowed when referee Eric Furlatt ruled that Nazem Kadri was guilty of intentional or deliberate contact with Sharks goalkeeper Martin Jones. The goal by Rielly was disallowed and Kadri was assessed a minor penalty for goalkeeper interference.
Mike Babcock initiated a Coach's Challenge, lost his timeout and was none too pleased when the referee upheld his initial call on the play.
As you look at the play linked below, ask yourself two basic questions:
(1)...did Kadri, either by his positioning or by contact, impair Jones' ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or
(2)...did Kadri initiate intentional or deliberate (vs incidental) contact with Jones either inside or outside of his goal crease?
The contact by Kadri to the right arm/shoulder of Jones was relatively light, once the Leafs forward turned toward the side of the goal crease from tight quarters, but nonetheless contact was initiated by the Leafs attacker. Based on the timing of this contact, and relative to the location of the approaching puck, I can understand why the referee ruled that Jones' ability to defend his goal was impaired and immediately waved off the goal.
What I have a difficult time defending is the referee's judgment to impose a penalty to Kadri for what had to have been deemed intentional and deliberate contact delivered on Jones. We have sometimes seen goals allowed when more forceful and even deliberate contact with the goalie occurred from players crashing the crease - and certainly while the attacker has been positioned outside the blue paint as Kadri was. Beyond the inconsistency factor too often presented, the degree and nature of contact exerted by Kardri did not rise to the level where a minor penalty should have been considered.
Based on the referee's position and quick reaction to the play he felt otherwise and made the signal to send Kadri to the penalty box.
Through the coach's challenge process, had the referee determined that Kadri did not sufficiently interfere with Jones under the parameters of rule 69, then the goal by Rielly would have been allowed and no further penalty to Kadri would result. As stated, I believe that the incidental contact did impair Jones ability to defend his goal.
Conversely, since the review verified for the ref that the contact by Kadri did result in goalkeeper interference, there was no option to downgrade the initial penalty call to "incidental" contact. The original call on the ice had to stand in its entirety.
A more consistent interpretation of rule 69--goalkeeper interference is required by all of the referees.