Just wondering if you had a chance to look at the video footage of the Sharks/Flames game in the final minute with the Sharks net empty. Johnny Gaudreau chips the puck past the Sharks defenseman and gets hooked from behind in the neutral zone as he's about to shoot the puck into the empty net. The puck ends up hitting the post and the ref gives a 2 min hooking penalty to San Jose. I was under the impression that in a situation like that, an automatic goal was awarded. Has this recently changed and is now up to the ref's discretion? Thanks in advance for any clarification in this matter. Cheers, Marty Butcher
In my judgment Johnny Gaudreau should have been awarded a goal on the play under rule 57.4 which states:
"If, when the opposing goalkeeper has been removed from the ice, a player in control of the puck (or who could have obtained possession and control of the puck) in the neutral zone or attacking zone is tripped or otherwise fouled with no opposition between him and the opposing goal, thus preventing a reasonable scoring opportunity, the Referee shall immediately stop play and award a goal to the attacking team."
The only possible reason I can think of for referee Jon McIsaac to impose a minor penalty for hooking to Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks, instead of awarding a goal to Johnny Hockey, is perhaps the referee's interpretation of the rule regarding "no opposition between him (Gaudreau) and the opposing goal"?
For many years after I signed a contract to officiate in the NHL, I dare say long before referee McIsaac was born, the criteria in the rule stated that the attacking player must have "no opponent to pass" for both the award of a penalty shot or an awarded goal. This simply meant that no opponent had ice in front of the attacker and was denied a reasonable scoring opportunity by being fouled from behind. During that era of the game the attacker must also be deemed to have had possession and control of the puck before the penalty shot or awarded goal kicked in versus a minor penalty.
The penalty shot was an exciting component to a game and in the desire for more penalty shots to be called, the League softened the criteria considerably. No longer did an attacker have to have possession and control of the puck but instead, if in the judgment of the referee, the attacker could have obtained possession and control of the puck prior to being fouled the penalty shot or awarded goal would be applied.
Even though Sharks defenceman Brent Burns was in fact marginally ahead of Gaudreau on the opposite side of the ice and giving chase on an angle, there is no question in my mind that the multiple hooks applied from behind by Pavelski prevented a reasonable scoring opportunity on the open net.
In spite of the hard hooks that delayed and all but eliminated Gaudreau's clear breakaway on the open net, Burns never got close enough to put himself "between" Gaudreau and the open net. Further to this, had the hard hooks not taken place there would be little question that the Calgary speedster would have blown up the ice and deposited the puck into the open net. This certainly qualifies as a reasonable scoring opportunity.
Even as Gaudreau attempted a shot on the open net, one that hit the goal post, he was being dragged down from behind by Pavelski which greatly reduced his "reasonable scoring opportunity" even further. Burns, on the other hand, was not between the Calgary player and the open net, nor was the Sharks defender in a position to either alter the puck path or defend the open net.
Given the spirit, intent and language of rule 57.4, this is about as clear an awarded goal situation as it gets.