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Should Nashville have received a penalty shot at the end of the Anaheim game?

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Jan 10, 2014


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The closing seconds of the Nashville Predators 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night provided a slight dose of controversy after a seeming icing call against Anaheim was waved off.

Matt Cullen took the final faceoff of the game with 11 seconds remaining when the puck seemed to come off of an Anaheim stick, cross from the Anaheim defensive zone and into the Predators defensive zone. As Nashville slowed to gather the puck in, it seemed clear that they expected an icing call. The clock on the scoreboard even stopped for approximately two seconds, but the call was never made.

“They said it was tipped,” Predators head coach Barry Trotz said.

“We thought it was an icing,” Cullen said. “I didn’t see it really well, but everyone thought it was an icing.”

Meanwhile, as the clock restarted, Anaheim netminder Frederik Andersen removed the goal from its moorings.

While Cullen said that he did not see Andersen remove the goal from its moorings, the video seems to be pretty definitive.

A goaltender deliberately removing a goal from its moorings is a delay of game penalty, per rule 63.2 of the NHL Rule Book: “A minor penalty shall be imposed on any player who delays the
game by deliberately displacing a goal post from its normal position.”

Andersen’s efforts were for naught, however, per rule 63.6, “In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, by a defending player, prior to the puck crossing the goal line between the normal position of the goalposts, the Referee may award a goal.”

In other words, if the puck had crossed a portion of the ice where the goal should have been, the goal would have counted regardless of where the net actually was.

The most prescient portion of the delay of game portion of the Rule Book, however, is rule 63.5: “If by reason of insufficient time in the regular playing time or by reason of penalties already imposed, the minor penalty assessed to a player for deliberately displacing his own goal post cannot be served in its entirety within the regular playing time of the game or at any time
in overtime, a penalty shot shall be awarded against the offending team.”

There are very few penalties in the NHL Rule Book which can result in a penalty shot if there is not enough time left for the minor penalty to be served, however a deliberate delay of game in which a player displaces the goal is one of them. With no time remaining on the clock, it seems fairly clear that the minor penalty would not have been able to be served in its entirety.

Thus, it would seem that had Andersen been caught, Nashville could conceivably have been awarded a penalty shot – a shot which might have tied the game.

With the clock hanging for two seconds, did Anderson remove the goal before or after time ran out? Should Nashville have been awarded a penalty shot?

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